About the film
Director: Anthony Maras
Actors: Armie Hammer, Jason Isaacs, Nazanin Boniadi, Dev PatelIn 2008 the city of Mumbai suffered a coordinated series of attacks by a terrorist group who eventually made their way to the prominent Taj Mahal Hotel in the city. Taking control of the hotel and executing the guests en masse, a group of hostages must band together in order to escape alive.
Dev Patel, Armie Hammer, Nazanin Boniadi (Homeland), and Anupam Kher (The Big Sick) star in Australian director Anthony Maras’s powerful debut feature, HOTEL MUMBAI, based on the true story of the devastating terrorist attack on the Taj Mahal Hotel.
Following the real timeline of events, the film begins with the terrorists, as 10 members of Pakistan’s Lashkar-e-Taiba land their inflatable speedboat on the city shores of the Mumbai coastline. Across town, Arjun (a movingly heroic Patel) sets off for his shift at the The Taj hotel. Meanwhile, American tourists David (Armie Hammer) and Zahra (Nazanin Boniadi) arrive at the hotel with their baby, and with childminder Sally (Tilda Cobham-Hervey). The Taj is known for its five-star comfort and quality with scenes of Mumbai’s city streets being sharply contrasted with the Taj’s opulence and affluence. At the Taj the “guest is God” in a city where most people don’t have running water and peppered throughout this movie filled with violence and trauma is a pointed class critique.
Cinematographer Nick Remy Matthews creates clarity and texture that gives you the grit of the city, the sanctum of the Taj and the collision of those two elements. There’s a seamlessness to the aesthetic; you’d really never know that Hotel Mumbai wasn’t wholly shot on location (a lot of the Hotel interior locations were shot in Adelaide). Maras and Editor Pete McNulty create tension bordering on hyperventilation as they deftly switch between the casual cruelty of the calculating young terrorists and the survivors hidden in the warrens of the hotel maze.
This story celebrates humanity, compassion, courage, resilience and the unwavering desire to survive.