'Hotel Mumbai' dubbed an 'anthem of resistance"

TORONTO (Reuters) - “Hotel Mumbai,” about the 2008 attack on a hotel in the Indian city, received a standing ovation at its world premiere at the Toronto Film Festival, and the cast and filmmakers said they believe that’s because of the human portrayal not only of the victims but also the perpetrators.`

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The film, starring Dev Patel, Armie Hammer and Jason Isaacs, recounts the attack on Mumbai’s luxury Taj Mahal hotel, where dozens of guests and hotel workers were killed during a three-day siege carried out by Pakistan-based Islamist militants.

Most of the film is told from the point of view of those trapped in the hotel, and also from that of the gunmen.

“You had a whole lot of people from different backgrounds, racial, ethnic, from different socioeconomic groups who came together in the face of real adversity to survive,” Australian director Anthony Maras told a news conference on Saturday.

“As Dev (Patel) said yesterday, ‘it’s an anthem of resistance.’”

The cast said the film, which also uses television footage of the siege, brought some of them to tears when they watched the finished version for the first time. Hammer, who plays American hotel guest David, said that the script was “dripping in humanity.”

“You see the toll the attack has on the guests and the staff of the hotel, but you also see it, really for the first time that I can think of, on the actual perpetrators,” Hammer said.

The Hollywood Reporter praised the film’s “nail-biting detail and ... an impressive you-are-there quality,” while The Wrap said it “delivers a show-stopping account.”

The siege at the Taj Mahal Hotel was one of a coordinated series of attacks across Mumbai in which more than 160 people were killed and hundreds wounded.

“Hotel Mumbai” follows a 2013 Bollywood film, “The Attacks of 26/11,” that was told from the point of view of the Mumbai police.

Reporting by Gina Cherelus; editing by Jill Serjeant and Grant McCool