Verdict: A gripping film that will open up a plethora of emotions.
The city that never sleeps was brought to a screeching halt on the 26th of November 2008. Mumbai was crippled by 10 terrorists who took over and wreaked havoc as they massacred hundreds of people. As we have reached the 11th year mark of this horrific event, Hotel Mumbai recounts this fateful and traumatic night. Inspired by the 2009 documentary Surviving Mumbai, this film takes you back in time to watch this gut-wrenching incident.
What’s Hotel Mumbai About:
As the film opens we meet Arjun, (Dev Patel) a waiter who is rushing for his shift at the Taj. Arjun turns up in the wrong footwear and the head chef – Chef Hemant Oberoi (Anupam Kher) instructs him to go home. Arjun begs Chef Oberoi telling him he has a wife who is expecting and he needs the money. We also meet David (Armie Hammer)and Zahra (Nazanin Boniadi) who are VIP guests at the Taj, who arrive with their baby. These various people we meet have no idea in a matter of minutes their world will be turned upside down. As the story unfurls we see how the terrorists enter the Taj and begin shooting at people in every corridor. We then get to see how the hotel staff put their own lives at stake to rescue hundreds of their guests. For them, the “guest is God.”
This film will make you squirm and flinch as these ghastly events begin to unfold. Hotel Mumbai draws you in and connects you to its characters. You shut your eyes hoping the terrorists don’t spot the baby with the nanny or that the other 50 odd people hiding in one part of the hotel. It will send shivers down your spine when you see how easily the terrorists came ashore, got into cabs and went to their respective destinations. This film will upset you when you watch how the Mumbai police were helpless as they were ordered not to do anything until the special forces from Delhi arrived. While Hotel Mumbai will open a floodgate of emotions, it’s the actors who take the script and soar with it. Hats off to Anupam Kher who plays his character with such commitment and passion. Dev Patel draws you in with his genuine and heartfelt performance. All the supporting characters also do a fabulous job and you can feel the horror, pain, and grief on their faces.
What Could’ve Been Better:
The film doesn’t cover all aspects of what actually went down during the 26/11 attacks. It takes cinematic liberties and one mustn’t expect the film to be factually flawless. Having said that, the film captures the emotions stunningly.
Why You Should Watch:
During a time of extreme crisis, it’s inspiring to see regular people rise to the occasion and do the extraordinary. This movie highlights all the brave men and women who put their lives on the line for the sake of other people. While this may not be an easy watch, it’s definitely a must-watch.