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Hotel Mumbai Film review: Dev Patel Excels in cathartic cinematic Adventure; an antidote to populist propaganda

Last updated on November 29, 2019

So, of course, it makes sense that it required more than a year for the movie to secure distribution in a nation whose inhabitants it honors so reluctantly.

Contrary to the form of chest-thumping movies which are usually manufactured in India nowadays, Hotel Mumbai is not a glorification of our safety forces, nor does it create any extensive religious generalizations. It rather champions individuals of Mumbai; people who were not trained to shield, but in a time of enormous peril found heroism in themselves.

Despite some morally problematic implementation, Maras’ movie is a tribute to the resilient spirit of a country — possibly the very best foreign movie of its type because Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire or even Garth Davis’ Lion, each of which, incidentally such as Hotel Mumbai, celebrity Dev Patel.

The 26/11 terrorist strikes, conducted in coordination across many places, maintained over 150 lives and set the city under siege for four times. Those people — myself included — that do not reside in Mumbai, recall pictures of this tragedy as though it occurred yesterday — of information reporters bravely entering the war zone; of smoke billowing from their iconic Taj Mahal Palace Hotel’s windows and of course bad women and men trying to escape from these; of NSG commandoes infiltrating Nariman House and of their terrorist Ajmal Kasab, walking with an AK in his own hands in the CST rail station.

And in a time when obvious populism is the favored method of communicating, Hotel Mumbai makes the honestly radical choice to inform a humanist tale devoid of politics.

There is not a more potent moment in the film compared to if the young Sikh server Arjun, played with a stoic yet vulnerable Dev Patel, provides his turban for a bandage to a wounded girl. It may encounter as a contrived market, dripping in saccharine sentimentality, but additionally, it wordlessly communicates the multicultural magnificence of the country, and so subtly creates a remark on the true virtues of faith.

Patel is strong; his Indian accent, however, remains a bit too exaggerated, lacking any kind of cultural specificity. Hammer, after attempting and not quite succeeding in establishing himself as a Hollywood leading man, has seemingly discovered his talents lie in playing character roles, similar to Kher, that instills at Oberoi a delicate equilibrium of dignity and adventuresome.

I also loathed the movie’s true use of local languages. While the cops talk Marathi, the terrorists talk authentic Punjabi. It is a comparatively small detail in a movie with so many moving elements, but it goes a long way in bringing a believability into the event, particularly since most foreign movies set in India, such as Slumdog, only have their characters talk in English or Hindi. But most Bollywood movies can not be bothered to become responsible.

The frightening discussions between the terrorists and their commander, who’s in continuous contact with them, never would have worked had Maras never attempted to do appropriate research. To overseas ears, it may not immediately be evident that different languages have been spoken, but to local viewers, it’s the gap between a lazily assemble outsider’s standpoint plus also a thoughtful eulogy.

Maras’ treatment of these terrorists, but might ruffle a few feathers. Maybe this is the reason why Netflix, later announcing its acquisition in 2018, fell the job from its slate. Contrary to the popular depiction of Islamic fundamentalists within our movies, which always includes incendiary speeches along with a fantastic deal of kohl, Hotel Mumbai reveals the 26/11 attackers less brainwashed barbarians, but as human beings. People who have seen Ajmal Kasab’s interrogation tapes could recall how insignificant he appeared on his hospital bed; just how pitiful his justification for his action was. Stripped of large guns and friends, he was merely a guy, exploited by his masters.

Maras’ humanization of these terrorists should not be viewed as some kind of endorsement of the activities, or even justification.