Saturday, June 18, 2022

Hotel Mumbai

I stayed up a few nights ago and watched an incredibly strong movie: Hotel Mumbai. It's one of the movies which doesn't do well in North America, and most likely Europe, because there's no sex scenes, no drug using or stupid superheros! When a society is sick, then their interests and hobbies are sick and unusual too, like driving big 4x4 vehicles in mud! Destroying the nature, burning fossil fuel for fun(!) and making extra noise is apparently a hobby for some! . A garbage movie such as Reservoir Dogs or From Dusk till Down which has no meaning and is comprised of nothing but coarse language, shooting and killing, apparently is praised a lot in this society(!) while movies such as Seven Years in Tibet, Valkyrie and Foxcatcher are ignored! 
Hotel Mumbai is the true story of the people who stayed at their job and defended their guests and their workplace against brainwashed terrorists who had no motivation but blind hatred which had been given to them by someone who eventually was not apprehended. The movie is directed by an Australian and different actors and actresses have roles in the story including an Iranian lady named Nazanin Bonyadi, a British actor, an British-born Indian actor, a number of Australians and of course a number of Indian actors who by the way provide the best portrait of the terrorists. They show how cold-blooded they were and their world collapsed on them at the end when they realized that so many innocent people had been killed by them and they got nothing! 
If you haven't seen a movie which takes you to the last minute, without any pause, watch Hotel Mumbai but remember that it's a sad and disturbing story, at the same time. People might not be comfortable to watch it to the end but generally it is a superb movie in terms of story-telling, direction, acting, editing and everything else.
The movie showed a few things that some might like that and I wonder what the reaction had been:

1- The Indian police in Mumbai, I'm not sure whether the police force in India is federal or municipal, acted very poorly which led to more people being killed. They basically were not engaged and waited for the Special Forces to be deployed from New Delhi which is more than 1,400 km away! I don't exactly know how those guys got themselves to Mumbai but according to the movie they arrived in helicopters and perhaps army trucks and it took them more than 12 hours since the initial attacked had been commended! Something like that in North America would not have been accepted in the first place. How could a country such as India which has been in three wars with Pakistan in the past, maybe, 50 years or so and is in constant clash with China, lack a strong police force in its major commercial city!? That is beyond my understanding.

2- Dev Patel, the British-born Indian actor performs very well in the movie and portraits a Sikh guy who is a member of the hotel staff. He manages the catastrophic situation very well. The question is how did the Sikh community reacted to his performance and accepted him to be one of them in the movie? Sikh Punjabi people are very fanatic about their images in the public and although he portraits a brave and wise man, I still have difficulty understanding that he had been given permission to be Sikh in the movie!

3- Jason Isaac plays a former Soviet Special Forces officer who had served in Afghanistan and now is the guest of the hotel. He is supposed to meet a couple of escorts and have a party in the suite he had rented but gets trapped in the restaurant amongst a few other and eventually is taken hostage and shot to death. In the last minutes of his role he admits that he was in Afghanistan and tells that to the guy on one of the terrorists' phone, to their boss, that he had f*cked his sister and mother! I don't know how they could put that in the script! The fact is most of the things that the Soviets did in Afghanistan was good. They built roads and bridges and they tried to save the country from fundamentalism, something that the country has just fallen into since Taliban took over again last August and now they're shown as rapists in this movie! The US and its allies, including Pakistan, UAE and others did more harm than good in Afghanistan
Amandeep Singh, right and Manoj Mehra in a scene of the movie both show one of the strongest and best  performances that I have seen for years 
4- Zahra Kashani is a guest in the hotel who is played by Iranian-born American actress Nazanin Bonyadi. There's a scene that she's talking with her mom on the phone and when her mom says that she would pray for her, she goes: Pray for what? When did praying ever work? Then in another scene when she is captured within others and they are being executed one by one, by one of the terrorists who had been injured, she begins praying and that basically saves her! The terrorist, despite his direct order from his boss on the phone, leave her alone and goes. Does the movie wants to say that praying works or is it just saying desperate times calls for desperate measures?! 
(Photo: The real Hotel Taj Mahal Palace in the city of Mumbai in India. A group of terrorists who had been trained in Pakistan attacked different spots in the city of Mumbai and at the end whoever was left gathered in the hotel with the aim of killing more people and destroying the hotel. They gained their first goal and killed more innocent people but failed to destroy the hotel as they were raided by Indian Special Forces and were all killed but one) 

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