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Hotel Mumbai (2019) – More Info
Critic’s Rating: 3.5/5
Story: Inspired by the 2009 documentary ‘Surviving Mumbai’, ‘Hotel Mumbai’ recounts the terrorist attacks on the Taj Mahal Hotel on 26th November 2008. It also briefly revisits two other attacks that happened earlier, on the same night – at Chhatrapati Shivaji Station (CST) and Leopold Café.
Review: With this film debutant director Anthony Maras recreates the horrific carnage witnessed inside the corridors of the Taj. For any Mumbaiker, the chilling memories of 26/11 are still fresh, and definitely, most traumatic for the one’s who survived by a whisker, lost their close ones or saw the attacks unfold at close quarters.
Despite being a morally grey zone, recreation of a terrorist attack is not new territory for international cinema. ‘Munich’ by Steven Speilberg and ‘United 93’ by Paul Greengrass have ventured here. And as compelling as the storytelling may be, it still remains a difficult watch owing to the grief, anger and irreparable loss attached to the events.
As indicated by Anthony Maras in his interviews, so as to respect the privacy of the actual persons, the characters of the film are fictionalized, inspired by real life people, except for Chef Hemant Oberoi (Anupam Kher). Dev Patel plays Arjun, a waiter at the hotel, who happened to be around that night, despite being told by a strict Chef Oberoi to return home on account of turning up in the wrong footwear to work. With a pregnant wife and a toddler back home, Arjun begs to stay back since he needs the shift, not knowing what awaits him later in the evening. David Duncan and Zahra (Armie Hammer and Nazanin Boniadi) have just arrived at the hotel with their baby. When the terrorist attack at the hotel begins – they are dining downstairs and their child is in the suite upstairs with the nanny (Tilda Cohham –Hervey).