Hotel Mumbai director stayed at terrorist site as he wrote the movie

Fishing village locals were shocked to see actors dressed up as gunmen.

Hotel Mumbai director Anthony Maras and his co-writer stayed at the site of the 2008 India terrorist attack as they completed work on the film's script.

The film details the events of the massacre at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in India in 2008, and Marras felt the best way to get a feeling for what happened was to book rooms there.

"That was critical for both me and John (Collee)," he tells WENN. "You can't do it by remote control. You've gotta be in there, experiencing that world and walking those corridors. Also, we were able to interview a whole lot of people who worked or still work at the hotel, even after having lived through all the attacks."

And the filmmaker shot many scenes at the sites where the events occurred, including the fishing village where the gunmen came ashore.

"Some of the fishmongers who live in that fishing village saw us filming and were taken aback, because our actors were dressed as the real gunmen were," Maras adds, revealing he also recreated parts of the Taj at locations around Mumbai for the actual shooting scenes.

"The Taj lobby was shot at this huge property just outside of Mumbai," he explains. "We knew we were going to keep returning to that lobby over the course of the film. So, for example, you see a big bouquet of flowers in all its glory at the start, untouched, in the centre of the lobby. And when it’s knocked over, it becomes a visual marker to help orientate the audience.

"All of the kitchen interiors and the bowels of the hotel, meaning all the corridors and stuff that people run down, they were all shot in a five-star hotel in Mumbai that has since closed. We dressed it and filmed in there.

"A huge part of my wanting to shoot this stuff in India, apart from the obvious reasons of location, was also we wanted to be able to hire people from Mumbai to be extras, so again, that adds a level of authenticity."

The attacks were carried out across Mumbai over four days by 10 members of Lashkar-e-Taiba, an Islamic terrorist organisation based in Pakistan. The 12 co-ordinated shooting and bombing attacks left over 170 people dead.

As well as the Taj Palace, the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, The Oberoi Trident, Leopold Cafe, Cama Hospital, the Nariman House Jewish community centre, and St. Xavier's College were also among the sites targeted.

The last of the terrorists were killed at the Taj Hotel.

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