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Director Anthony Maras spent 6 months meeting survivors before Hotel Mumbai shoot

The director met, interviewed and interacted with survivors of the 2008 26/11 terrorist attacks for six months before beginning to film the Anupam Kher and Dev Patel-starrer. 

Our Correspondent

Anupam Kher and Dev Patel will relive some of the most harrowing moments in the history of Mumbai city in their upcoming film, Hotel Mumbai (2019). Directed by Anthony Maras, the film tracks the events on the day the 26/11 terrorist attacks took place in 2008.

To truly get the story, Maras spent around six months interviewing and interacting with survivors to understand the real story behind the attacks. 

The Australian filmmaker was blown away by the Emmy-nominated documentary, Surviving Mumbai (2009). The makers of that movie were the first on the ground shooting after the attacks happened, thus speaking to many survivors including staff and guests of the Taj Hotel in Mumbai. The filmmaker then on spent over six months solely researching on the film listening to stories of survivors.

Maras said, “It all started when I saw the documentary Surviving Mumbai. And from there we spent months in Mumbai to research. We got access to transcripts, tapes, talking to survivors. It was important to be well-versed in what happened during the attacks. It was essential to get a real sense of the matters of the heart. Talking to people took a year. Months were spent interviewing people."

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"We stayed at the Taj Hotel for a month while we interviewed survivors, cops and staff of the hotel to get a picture of what happened that night. This film is not a documentary. It was meant to be an emotional ride that makes one feel empathy. What if I were placed in the middle of these attacks? We wanted to see more than statistics and headlines. There are perspectives of the victims here largely," he continued.

Praising the director's zeal, actor Armie Hammer said, "Even thought it’s Anthony’s debut film, it didn’t feel like it. It’s basically his passion and his zeal that is really enthralling. The film is based on a true story and it’s based of something that’s actually happened. It’s a story which is real, it’s scarred and is based on an incident which killed people. Thus there’s a need was a need to have a sense of responsibility. Especially with the research that went into this project was incredible. It’s an intense project, and so much that went into the camera is fear based. The script was emotionally charged." 

The film is produced by Zee Studios and will release in theatres on 29 November in English, Hindi, Tamil, and Telugu.