Actor-chef Amrita Raichand reveals she was at Taj Hotel during 26/11 assaults, recalls gunshots sounding like fireworks | Bollywood

Actor-chef Amrita Raichand revealed she and her husband Rahul Raichand had been trapped inside The Taj Mahal Palace during the 26/11 terror assaults in Mumbai. In 2008, 12 coordinated assaults lasting as many as 4 days throughout main places in Mumbai jolted the nation. One of which was the sea-facing The Taj Mahal Palace. 

A variety of visitors had been trapped for hours collectively during the assault. One of them was Amrita Raichand. In a dialog with Humans of Bombay, Amrita revealed she was celebrating her birthday at the luxurious lodge when the assaults came about. 

“My birthday is on 26th November. That night, to celebrate, we decided to go to the Taj. My son had just turned 1–I was sceptical about leaving him behind, but when my family insisted, I agreed. Moreover, a friend was staying at Taj, so we made dinner plans. In retrospect, I wish I had listened to my gut,” she recalled. 

The actor and her husband reached the hotel by 9 pm. As they settled in, they heard the first set of firings. “As we were settling in, we heard what sounded like fireworks. Oblivious to what was happening, I said, ‘The whole city is celebrating my birthday!’ After 15 mins, we heard the sound again, but this time it sounded like gunshots. What I saw from the window shocked me… bodies were being rolled out. When we called the receptionist, she asked us to stay put. And so, we did. An hour later, a deafening sound shook the building. What followed was chaos–I heard screams, people being dragged & gunshots. We switched off the lights & put our phones on silent. But even the silence was thunderous.” 

Amrita recalled that just a few hours had handed and she was frightened about her son when the second blast came about. “Just then, there was a 2nd blast–the dome was on fire & we were engulfed in smoke. My mind went back to my son at home. We wetted the towels and put them by the door. We even tried breaking open the window, but in vain. Night turned into morning, & we were still there…breathing smoke & losing hope. And then we heard a fire brigade–we flickered the light & thankfully, they saw us!” she added. 


She mentioned that it was already morning after they had been lastly rescued. With the assistance of the hearth brigade, it took them an hour to climb out of the room. Although she reunited together with her son, Amrita confessed the trauma of the incident stayed on. “I’d find it hard to even use the loo by myself. And fireworks? Their sound still terrorises me,” she shared. However, the next yr, they returned to the lodge to have a good time her birthday but once more and since then, it has been a ritual for her to say a prayer for all those that died during the assault and have a good time these fought and triumphed the fear. 

Also learn: 13 years of 26/11 Mumbai assaults: Anil Kapoor, Akshay Kumar and others pay tribute

Amrita is a famend chef. However, she has starred in a few Bollywood motion pictures. One of which was Ready, wherein she performed Asin’s pal Pooja. She then starred in Ali Fazal’s Baat Bann Gayi.  


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