Daily Archives: April 16, 2019

Movie: Hotel Mumbai

This movie is based on the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks that spanned twelve locations over a period of four days. The film concentrates on the attack on the Taj Mahal Hotel, a dominating landmark in Mumbai that evokes British imperialism and the simultaneous presence of  obscene wealth and obscene poverty. The film reminded me of the disaster movies of the 1970s (Towering Inferno, or The Poseidon Adventure) where, as a viewer, you become invested in a small number of people amidst the anonymous and largely ignored carnage of other people as background. Perhaps we’ve grown up a bit, because not everybody here makes it out alive.

I saw this film at a Crybaby Session at a local cinema. I wondered if the gunshots and explosions would transform the snuffling little bundles into real crybabies, but the noise wasn’t too overpowering (perhaps they had it turned down?). There was a lot of violence here -rather too much perhaps as Wikipedia estimates the number of deaths at the Taj Mahal at 31 and I’m sure that the film depicted many more deaths than that.

My daughter-in-law and I had high tea at the Taj Mahal eight years later (see my travel blog entries here and here). Other than the memorial outside the hotel, there was no sign of the damage and carnage. It didn’t occur to us at the time, and it was sobering to realize, that many of the staff working there had experienced the terror attack.