Panaji: Through his riveting re-creation of the torment in his film “Taj Mahal”, French filmmaker Nicolas Saada has paid tribute to the 2008 Mumbai terror attack victims. The movie based on real life incidents was screened at the ‘Cinema of the World’ section in the ongoing International Film Festival of India. It gives an account of the experiences of a teenager trapped in hotel Taj Mahal, Mumbai during the November 26, 2008 terrorist attacks.
Actress Stacy Martin has played the role of teenage girl Louise, who has moved to Mumbai with her English mother (Gina McKee) and French father (Louis-Do de Lencquesaing) for his new job. They stay temporarily at the Taj Mahal Hotel. One evening, she realizes that a terrorist attack is underway. Her only connection to the outside world is her cell phone, which allows her to maintain contact with her father. The film revolves around the situation that she has to spend a long night alone in the face of danger and after this night her life will never be the same again.
“Late 2008, a few days after the Mumbai terrorist attacks, I was having dinner with some friends. Someone told me his niece had been trapped in the hotel during the attack. She managed to escape thanks to her survival instinct, and by keeping communication with her father and mother, who were outside the hotel.I was fascinated by this story and I told myself that one day, I would make a film about it,” Nicolas said about the inspiration behind the project.
The filmmaker met the girl to understand what she went through on that night and linked her story with a bigger plot.
“I set up a long interview with her, so that she could describe in details the night she had spent locked up in the hotel. I also wanted to know about journey to India and so I liked the idea of connecting her story to a bigger story, to give it greater impact.”