The debut of director Anthony Maras, the film follows Arjun, a waiter at the historic Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in Mumbai, India, where the hotel mantra is “guest is god”.
Checking-in are various high-profile guests, including a British-Muslim heiress Zahra and her American husband, David, in addition to a former top-ranking Russian special operative, Vasili.
That night the hotel is attacked by terrorists, and the hotel staff — including Arjun — must attempt to defend the premises while waiting for special operatives to arrive.
“On the 26th November 2008, a wave of devastating terror attacks throughout Mumbai catapulted the bustling Indian metropolis into chaos,” according to a Sky statement describing the film’s events. “In the heart of the city’s tourist district, Jihadist terrorists laid siege to the iconic Taj Palace Hotel, whose guests and staff became trapped in a heroic, day-long fight for survival.”
How closely does Hotel Mumbai relate to the real-life events?
Hotel Mumbai is inspired by the survivors of the real-life 2008 Mumbai attacks, when a dozen coordinated shooting and bombing attacks took place across four days in various locations in the city, including the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel on 26th November.
The attacks were carried out by ten members of Lashkar-e-Taiba, an Islamic terrorist organisation that is still based in Pakistan.
When it came to the staff and guests caught up in the attack on the hotel, the filmmakers were keen to be sensitive to their memory and their families’ feelings. So in most cases, the characters depicted in the film are not real people but rather based on those involved.
Arjun, the Sikh waiter played by Dev Patel, is an amalgamation of two people – a waiter and an unarmed security guard who aided the police.
The guests were fictionalised in the same way. However, famous Indian chef Hemant Oberoi (played by Anupam Kher), who strives to keep the guests safe in the film, is a real person, so well-known in India that hiding his identity would have been impossible.
It was also reported by news outlets that the terrorists killed police and commandeered their vehicle, that they began the attack at the train station and that one of the terrorists was later taken into custody by police, all as depicted in the film.
Meanwhile, some of the dialogue is said to have been reconstructed with the help of court transcripts and the terrorists’ satellite phone conversations.
Dev Patel in Hotel Mumbai (Sky)
Who stars in Hotel Mumbai?
Slumdog Millionaire star Dev Patel plays Arjun, a hotel waiter with a wife and child at home.
Co-starring are Armie Hammer (Call Me By Your Name) as American tourist David, Iranian-British actor Nazanin Boniadi as David’s wife, heiress Zahra, Jason Isaacs (Harry Potter film series) as Vasili and Anupam Kher (The Boy with the Topknot, Bend It Like Beckham)as chef Hemant Oberoi.