Hotel Mumbai

wogma rating: Watch but no rush (?)

quick review:

Once you are ok with the fact that a movie has been made on the terrifying siege in Mumbai and it has to exploit emotions, Hotel Mumbai is a grippingly told, as unbiased as can be narrative with a believable ambience and some remarkable performances.

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Director: Anthony Maras
Running time: 125 minutes
More Movie Info

There are movies based on real-life events, and there are movies based on real-life events that are too close to home for the viewer. It felt like each bullet was brushing past me, and I realised why I was resisting watching the film. Even in 2008, I couldn’t follow the events as they were happening. It was a coping mechanism, an escape, a shock-absorbing technique. Which is why, to date, I do not know the details. In that sense, Hotel Mumbai was an important watch for people like me. And it seemed like it did justice to the events despite the overt focus on parts of the story that would tug better on emotions.

You want to get out of the theater as soon as possible. And imagine having to live through it minute-by-minute. shudder

I am not sure we can blame a movie for wanting to play with the viewers’ emotions because that is a tool to keep them engaged. Is it a necessity, though? Is it imperative to focus on just a couple of families and their stories as if people without families don’t carry a story worth telling?

Anyway, once you take the choice in stride, that of picking these specific characters and also that of telling the larger story at all, you cannot but admire the tense atmosphere created. Of the many events during the attack, the ones chosen are woven together well enough for two hours to feel like an eternity. Not because it is slow or dull, but because you want to get out of there as soon as possible. And imagine having to live through it minute-by-minute. shudder

Each and every character performance adds to this atmosphere of dread. Not one actor is out of line—be it the ones who play the terrorists, the hotel staff, or the guests.

Having said that, I am not sure I want to see movies made on terror attacks, especially those in the recent past. It just doesn’t seem right to watch it, let alone write about it.

- meeta, a part of the audience

22 reviewers(?) - 15 yays 7 so-so 0 nays

Warning: clicking on "full review" will take you to an external website that could contain spoilers.

Thumbs up, by Russel D'silva, Bollywood Life : ...A couple of minor grievances aside, Hotel Mumbai needs to be watched not only by every Indian, but also by anyone around the globe with half a heart beating behind their chest. It’s harrowing, gut-wrenching, emotional, and still so triumphant and entertaining. It’d be highly disappointing if this doesn’t snag a handful of nominations come Oscar season. I’m going with 4 stars.... full review

Thumbs up, by Devesh Sharma, Filmfare : ...Individual bravery triumphed back then but the system as a whole collapsed. The question you ask yourself coming out of the theatre is -- are we better prepared today to meet any such attack? Let's hope we'll never find out...... full review

Thumbs up, by Madhuri V, Filmi Beat : ...Volker Bertelmann's background score adds more layers to Maras's storytelling and keeps you glued to the screen.... full review

Thumbs up, by Devansh Sharma, FirstPost : ...When the film concludes, one heaves a heavy sigh of relief, looking at the survivors exposed to broad daylight. It also has an undercurrent of sacrificing one's life for one's family, the scope of which often extends to guests staying at one's hotel, or even a woman who shared a calm drink with you in the midst of a storm.... full review

Thumbs up, by Punarvasu Pendse, : ...Nazanin Boniadi adeptly shows quiet resilience in the face of danger, and one scene where she has a gun to her head yet defiantly looks at her assailant while chanting a prayer is harrowing. Armie Hammer looks self-assured yet has nothing to do, and Jason Isaacs is the quintessential "dirty" Russian.... full review

Thumbs up, by Vishal Verma, : ...HOTEL MUMBAI is a hauntingly unnerving, explosively unsettling reminder of the horrific inhuman act of 26/11, 2008 in Mumbai the carnage that shook Mumbai and the world. It’s brilliantly crafted and marvelously performed. So, am I recommending it? I leave it up to you. How you take it.... full review

Thumbs up, by Rohan Naahar, Hindustan Times : ...The chilling conversations between the terrorists and their commander, who is in constant contact with them wirelessly, never would’ve worked had Maras not made the effort to do proper research. To foreign ears, it might not immediately be clear that different languages are being spoken, but to local audiences, it is the difference between a lazily put together outsider’s perspective and a thoughtful eulogy.... full review

Thumbs up, by Nairita Mukherjee, india today : ...Maras also doesn't make sweeping statements about religion, or overtly dramatises the 'taking off the turban' scene. He does, however, allow one dialogue to that shady Russian. "Religion is what got us here!"... full review

Thumbs up, by R.M. Vijayakar, India West : ...The acting honors go to all, but the show is stolen by the underplayed, unassuming yet business-like chef Hemant Oberoi (Anupam Kher) and waiter Arjun. The five terrorists absolutely look their parts, and we can almost smell their grime and see the way they are controlled like puppets.... full review

Thumbs up, by UDITA JHUNJHUNWALA, Live Mint : ...Maras directs with a sure hand and his actors approach the subject with sensitivity. Hotel Mumbai is a disturbing and haunting reminder of what so many endured. It’s a tribute not only to those who did not survive but also to those who took infinite risks for the survival of others.... full review

Thumbs up, by Johnson Thomas, MiD DAY : ...Anthony Maras' uniquely calibrated skillset, deft realistic camerawork by Nick Remy, smart editing and modulated background score generate an agonising, shocking and ravaging experience.... full review

Thumbs up, by Saibal Chatterjee, NDTV : ...Kher plays Oberoi with confidence and empathy. However, his performance at times tilts ever so slightly towards Bollywood-style declamation. But that is only a minor aberration in a film that thrives on operating with a limited set of buttons and hitting them at will - and well.... full review

Thumbs up, by Vaibhavi v Risbood, Pinkvilla : ...In brevity, Mumbai Hotel is a befitting tribute to the unsung heroes of 26/11 and victims. The only disappointment for the film aficionados is that the Indian film industry couldn’t deliver better or earlier than a Hollywood production house.... full review

Thumbs up, by Sukanya Verma, Rediff : ...Except Hotel Mumbai isn't aspiring to be a commentary on the tragedy. It only wants to be a gripping depiction of a grim time. As credibly the movie achieves that, it could have been a lot more. The reality of it certainly is.... full review

Thumbs up, by Gaurang Chauhan, Times Now : ...Overall, Hotel Mumbai is a thrilling, deeply disturbing and a visceral experience about the horrors of 26/11 terror attacks. The movie is definitely not for the weak-hearted. Everyone from Dev Patel, Anupam Kher, Armie Hammer, Nazanin Boniadi to Jason Isaacs leave a mark... full review

So-So, by Subhash K Jha, Bolly Spice : ...At best, Hotel Mumbai is a a fairly interesting pulp take on the actual incident and better than Ram Gopal Varma’s Attacks Of 26/11. At worst it is a noisy bristling fictionalized version of a true incident that should not be tampered with.... full review

So-So, by Deepa Gahlot, Deepa Gahlot : ...The handsomely shot film is undoubtedly a tribute to the city and its people, made with considerable restraint (not exploitative like Ram Gopal Varma’s The Attacks of 26/11), but for Indian audiences that remember the incident vividly—they were glued to their televisions—they don’t really need the bitter memories dredged up.... full review

So-So, by Anupama Chopra, Film Companion : ...And yet, Hotel Mumbai lands enough emotional punches. The scale and extent of the tragedy is too vast to leave you unmoved. I just wish that the film didn’t insist on a patriotic slant at the end or tell us that Mumbai bounced back in two days – it feels like an empty assertion. There was enough heroism and humanity on display during the attacks to give us hope for a better tomorrow.... full review

So-So, by Shalini Langer, indian express : ...Hotel Mumbai is also unsparing about the incompetence of the authorities who could have stopped this tragedy from achieving the scale it did — the special forces which kept a city waiting, the police that struggled for reinforcements, the TV cameras that gave away vital clues, the government that failed to stop them.... full review

So-So, by Kunal Guha, Mumbai Mirror : ...Despite its formulaic approach, Hotel Mumbai works for sprinkling the proceedings with jarring tonal shifts. Every mundane exchange or dull moment is followed by an execution or unexpected turn. The erratic proceedings keep you on the edge, and even manage to inspire concern and dread for the characters on screen. So if you need this grade of tension in your life, this one’s for you.... full review

So-So, by Nandini Ramnath, : ...No Indian production has come close to reimagining the Taj attack in such sickening detail. The movie is made more effective by the actors who play the ruthless terrorists. Amandeep Singh, Suhail Nayyar, Manoj Mehra, Dinesh Kumar, Amritpal Singh and Kapil Kumar Netra have the unenviable job of portraying killing machines, and they prove to be excellent choices.... full review

So-So, by Mini Anthikad Chhibber, The Hindu : ...Of the cast, Dev Patel is likeable as Arjun while Anupam Kher is majestic as Oberoi. Armie Hammer, with his blond hair and blue-eyed good looks, does not have much to do with his white saviour role as David. Jason Isaacs who we remember as evil Lucius Malfoy in the Harry Potter films has fun as Vasili.... full review

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This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: Loads.
  • Language: Littered with profanity
  • Nudity & Sexual content: There is some sexual talk
  • Concept: Wholly focussed on the events around the 26/11 Taj Hotel seige in Mumbai
  • General Look and Feel: Tense

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

Lead Actors:
Character Artists:

Hotel Mumbai - Cast, crew, links

Running time:
125 minutes

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