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22/04/19

HOTEL MUMBAI (Movie Review)


Bullets scream through the Indian air hitting walls, hitting windows, hitting bodies with a spray of blood.

It’s Nov. 26, 2009, and terrorists stalk the streets of Mumbai like wolves on the hunt. They rip through a subway station, killing 58. They tear apart a café, killing another 10. Taxis blow up. Tourists are gunned down. The attacks are coordinated, swift, obviously lethal.

Before the attacks, Mumbai had become a symbol of the resurgent, rapidly developing country of India its power and progress and newfound wealth. That made it a natural target for the disenfranchised. As we watch the terrorists prowl through Mumbai’s avenues and allies, a cleric speaking to his lackeys through earpieces reminds them of just how disenfranchised they are.

“Look at all they’ve stolen,” the unseen imam tells them. “From your fathers. From your grandfathers. … Remember, the whole world will be watching.”

The Taj has seen such things before.

The Taj Mahal Palace Hotel sits by the Gateway of India like a jewel, just as it has since 1903. It was the only hotel in India with electricity when it was built. And for more than a century it’s where Maharajas and Mountbattens alike met and ate and stayed. The place has lost none of its luster by 2009: The flowers in the lobby are perfectly cut, the floors perfectly polished, the bottles of chardonnay perfectly chilled. In Mumbai’s frenetic heart, the Taj has always been a cool center of moneyed civility an oasis amid the city’s chaos.

“Here at the Taj, guest is god,” head chef Hemant Oberoi intones to his staff. They solemnly nod their heads in agreement.

Even on a day like today, when Mumbai’s streets run with fresh blood, the Taj stands unflappable.

Until the first terrorists enter the lobby.

Guests are gods?

Now, the staff must try to ensure that the guests aren’t dead.

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