Crit­ics rave as home­grown thriller de­buts


ADE­LAIDE film direc­tor An­thony Maras and the cast of South Aus­tralian-backed drama Ho­tel Mum­bai earned a stand­ing ova­tion at the Toronto In­ter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val for their pow­er­ful por­trayal of the deadly Mum­bai ter­ror­ist at­tacks.

The SA Film Cor­po­ra­tionbacked film, which co-stars love­birds Bri­tish star Dev Pa­tel and Ade­laide’s Tilda Cob­hamHer­vey, retells the dev­as­tat­ing 2008 at­tacks in which 10 gun­men killed 164 peo­ple in a four-day on­slaught.

Praise was swift for Maras’s first fea­ture film with Va­ri­ety mag­a­zine’s Patrick Frater writ­ing that the two-hour drama had made a “pow­er­ful con­nec­tion” with the au­di­ence.

“The Aus­tralian-made film graph­i­cally de­picts the 2008 ter­ror at­tacks on Mum­bai, in par­tic­u­lar the Taj Ho­tel,” Frater wrote.

The movie, sup­ported by Screen Aus­tralia, was shot over five weeks in Ade­laide at the SA Film Corp, which was trans­formed into the ho­tel’s op­u­lent in­te­rior.

Screen Daily’s Sarah Ward said the film “takes an equally tense and touch­ing ap­proach to In­dia’s dev­as­tat­ing ter­ror­ist at­tacks”.

The re­ac­tion was also glow­ing on Twit­ter, with view­ers de­scrib­ing the film as a white-knuckle thriller that was bru­tal but also com­pas­sion­ate. Critic Jeff Snei­der said the film marks Maras as a “ma­jor direc­tor to watch”. Frater re­ported that Pa­tel, pic­tured be­low, who stars in the film as a ju­nior chef who hero­ically guards ho­tel guests, was “choked up” after the screen­ing. “I re­ally don’t know what to say,” Va­ri­ety re­ported him as telling the au­di­ence. “It didn’t pull any punches. It’s an an­them of re­sis­tance.” It was the first time that many of the cast, which in­cluded Ar­mie Ham­mer (The So­cial Net­work), Ja­son Isaacs (Harry Pot­ter), Anu­pam Kher (Silver Lin­ings Play­book) an Nazanin Bo­niadi (Home­land), had seen the film. Maras then in­tro­duced the real-life chef, He­mant Oberoi, who was sit­ting in the crowd of the Prince of Wales Theatre and whose pres­ence was met with rau­cous ap­plause. “He is the rea­son I made the film,” Maras said, be­fore re­veal­ing Oberoi. “He just got a plane in to­day and landed this morn­ing.” Maras worked with SA pro­ducer Julie Ryan (Red Dog, Ten Ca­noes) on the film, which was res­cued from the col­lapse of the Har­vey We­in­stein film em­pire.

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