Mumbai,By Vinayak Chakravorty ,September,16,2015:-While several Bollywood films have already used the 26/11 attacks as the central theme or backdrop for their stories, French film-maker Nicolas Saada has made the first foreign feature film on the subject. Titled Taj Mahal, the film stars French-English actress Stacy Martin, who shot to global fame playing the protagonist in Lars Von Trier’s controversial film of 2013, Nymphomaniac. Saada casts Martin as a teenager who is trapped in Mumbai’s Taj Mahal Palace & Tower hotel on the fateful November 26, 2008. Taj Mahal is the 50-year-old Saada’s second feature film after his acclaimed debut Spy(ies) in 2009, and has been screened in the Horizons section of Venice Film Festival this year. The $8 million film, which sees its protagonist entirely trapped inside a single room as terrorists gunned down guests, has been described as a “a psychological thriller” by its maker. The French-English film is based on an interaction the filmmaker had with a young female tourist who was actually trapped in that manner in the Mumbai five-star during the attacks on 26/11. In various interviews, the filmmaker has defined his effort as “an intimate disaster film”. The film is billed as a hard-hitting drama and also features Gina McKee and Alba Rohrwacher along with Stacy Martin. It is scheduled for a commercial release in the international market in December, following its screening at the just-concluded Venice fest. Taj Mahal has been partially shot in Mumbai, though most portions comprising indoor shots were wrapped up in France. The film’s production crew has a smattering of Indian names. While The Lunchbox producer Guneet Monga and Achin Jain were executive producers for the India leg of shooting, the line producer of the film is Deepak Gawde. For Saada, Taj Mahal reportedly facilitated his second visit to India. He had been to India around 25 years ago.
2015 Kashmir Despatch