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“Hotel Mumbai” Terror in India





Review by John Delia

A heart pounding experience, the film Hotel Mumbai stays with you well after you leave the theater. From the very beginning the feeling of dread and helplessness sets in as you watch the terrorist horror start to unfold. Before you know it you will be enveloped in the lives of people as they try to flee and hide from the gunmen. It’s a frightening experience, but one that’s a must see as the reality of it all can have easily been anywhere in the world.

It’s the end of November 2008 and ten Pakistani terrorists land their craft on the beach at Mumbai, India. The resort area is known worldwide and it’s a destination for the rich and famous. The inhabitants of the city are indigenous and depend on tourism and the jobs they produce. What’s even more astounding is that the eyes of the world are readily available and the perfect sage for an attack by insurgents who have a disdain for the rich. To them anyone who is not Muslim are the enemy and they will give their lives for their cause.

(From L to R) Armie Hammer as “David”, Tilda Cobham-Hervey as “Sally” and Nazanin Boniadi as “Zahra” in director’s Anthony Maras’ HOTEL MUMBAI, a Bleecker Street release.
Credit: Kerry Monteen / Bleecker Street

The onslaught begins right away and ordinary people are dying in the streets as the terrorists press on to bigger quarry in the expensive hotels, including one of the largest, Taj Mahal Palace Hotel. Director and co-writer Anthony Maras moves his film along at a fast pace holding nothing back as the terror group cuts down anyone holding them up from getting to their main objective. They are all wired for communications and are taking orders from The Bull (voice of Pawan Singh) who goads them on to complete their task. The killing is very realistic and the targets are random until Maras takes you inside the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel.

Dev Patel stars as “Arjun” in director Anthony Maras’ HOTEL MUMBAI, a Bleecker Street release.
Credit: Kerry Monteen / Bleecker Street

The acting by everyone is first-rate including, walk-on’s, crowd scenes, hotel workers and of course the leads and their support actors. The heroes depicted in the film include Arjun, played by Dev Patel (Slumdog Millionaire, Lion), a local with a family who gives his all to his job at the Taj Mahal Palace. Keeping his cool in the line of fire, he guides his group into the safe room at the hotel. It’s not an easy job, but his facial expressions tell most of his desire to stay alive yet willing to give his life to save others, and he nails the role.

Anupam Kher’s character, head chef Oberoi at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, has to keep the 50 people in his kitchen antechamber calm and quiet. But, he’s also astute when it comes to identifying the danger as it comes closer to their hiding place. He has to make important decisions and Oberoi makes every step he takes believable and courageous.

Nazanin Boniadi (left) as “Zahra” and Jason Isaacs (right) as “Vasili” in director Anthony Maras’ HOTEL MUMBAI, a Bleecker Street release. Credit : Mark Rogers / Bleecker Street

The photography is excellent showing close-ups and wide shots of the terrorists as they land and then turn on the killing. The butchery looks real in the crowded train station, among the fleeing people in the streets and during the melee at the reception area. Executions of guests in their hotel room are unsettling and brutal, and the special effects leave very little to the imagination. The hotel interiors are opulent and probably indicative of most of the Mumbai’s tourist locations on the seaside. Special make-up and demolition effects are intense showing explosions, bullet riddled walls, fires and the bloody aftermath. The heart pounding and pulsating music keeps every act suspenseful and very disturbing throughout the movie and to the very last scene.

Hotel Mumbai has been rated R for disturbing violence throughout, bloody images, and language. The killing of the people and damage of the buildings looks very real so the timid should beware.

Armie Hammer stars as “David” in director Anthony Maras’ HOTEL MUMBAI, a Bleecker Street release.
Credit: Kerry Monteen / Bleecker Street

The terrorist attack in November 26 thru 29, 2008 took the lives of 164 people and it cost 1.75 billion rupees ($25.2 million) to rebuild the Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai – wiki

The Aftermath of the Raid: (CNN)

February 25, 2009 – Kasab, the lone surviving gunman, is formally charged.
October 3, 2009 – US citizen David Coleman Headley (aka Daood Gilani) is arrested in Chicago. He is accused of scouting out locations to target in the Mumbai attack.
October 18, 2009 – Canadian citizen Tahawwur Hussain Rana is arrested in Chicago. He is accused of facilitating the 2008 attacks by helping associate Headley obtain a fake visa to travel to Pakistan.
November 25, 2009 – Seven men are charged in Pakistan in connection with the attacks, including the alleged mastermind, Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi.
March 18, 2010 – Headley pleads guilty.
May 3, 2010 – Kasab is convicted of murder, conspiracy and waging war on India.
May 6, 2010 – Kasab is sentenced to death by hanging.
June 9, 2011 – Rana is found not guilty of conspiracy to provide material support to the Mumbai attackers.
November 21, 2012 – Kasab is executed at 7:30 a.m. in an Indian prison.
January 24, 2013 – Headley is sentenced to 35 years in prison.
March 13, 2015 – The Islamabad High Court in Pakistan orders the release of Lakhvi, calling his detention illegal.
April 10, 2015 – Lakhvi is released on bail.
January 29, 2017 – Hafiz Mohammed Saeed, the leader of a group associated with Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, is placed under house arrest in Pakistan for his suspected role in the Mumbai attacks.
November 24, 2017 – Authorities in Pakistan say that Saeed has been freed from house arrest. The United States, which labels Saeed as the leader of Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, said it was “deeply concerned” about his release.

FINAL ANALYSIS: The adult oriented film is excellent and should be seen by those that are not squeamish or immature. (5 out of 5 Stars)

Additional Film Information:
Cast: Dev Patel, Anupam Kher, Armie Hammer, Tilda Cobham-Hervey, Jason Isaacs, Nazanin Boniadi, Manoj Mehra, Dinesh Kumar Amandeep Singh, Suhail Nayyar and Amritpal Singh
Directed and co-written by: Anthony Maras
Inspired by: Documentary “Surviving Mumbai”
Genre: Drama, History, Thriller
MPAA Rating: R for disturbing violence throughout, bloody images, and language
Running Time: 2 hrs. 5 min.
Opening Date: March 29, 2019
Distributed by: Bleecker Street Media
Released in: Standa

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