The Big Issue : Edition 582
34 THEBIGISSUE.ORG.AU 8–21 MAR 2019 ANTHONY MARAS WAS 10 days away from the end of filming Hotel Mumbai when he cut off his thumb. The Australian director (inset) was out for dinner in Mumbai with some of the cast and crew at a local restaurant when his hand got a little too close to the spinning blade of a fan. The thumb was successfully reattached (Hotel Mumbai star Dev Patel found it and kept it on ice) and Maras can laugh about it now, but at the time it was definitely a serious matter. “There were a lot of really big scenes that we weren’t able to do until I recovered,” he says. “It’s very humid there and the kinds of locations weren’t where you wanted to have an open wound – in my case a really open wound, because there was no thumb.” Hotel Mumbai tells the story of the 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai, where 10 gunmen from a Pakistan-based militant group struck in locations across the city, firing into crowds and setting off explosives. Most of the gunmen were tracked down and killed by police, but inside the city’s internationally renowned Taj Mahal Palace hotel, the situation rapidly became a siege. As the terrorists went from room to room killing guests and staff, the local police waited outside for specialist forces to arrive. Over the three-day siege, 31 guests and staff were killed inside the hotel. Across Mumbai, at least 174 people died and more than 300 were injured. “I first heard about the attack like how everyone else first heard about it – on TV,” says Maras. “When I saw the documentary Surviving Mumbai (2009), it really opened up the world of the attacks for me.” What struck Maras about the events at the Taj hotel was the diversity of the people caught up in it. “You had all manner of different socio-economic groups; you went from unimaginable wealth to people living pay cheque to pay cheque. Different religious backgrounds, different racial groups INSETPHOTOBYJACKSMITH In his first feature film, Australian director Anthony Maras tackles one of the most shocking terrorist attacks of recent times – the 2008 siege at Mumbai’s Taj Mahal Palace hotel. Terror Filming — DEV PATEL SAVES BABIES...AND THUMBS.