Thursday, November 27, 2008

Terrorism in Mumbai

Yesterday I watched the press screening of Slumdog Millionaire, Danny Boyle's extraordinary tale of brutalised Mumbai street children. The brilliance of the cinematography was powerful, its violence intense and shocking. It told the tale of two Muslim children orphaned by riots, one of whom then goes on to win 'Who wants a millionaire,' so that he can win his childhood sweetheart.

A bomb exploded in a suitcase in the Taj Mahal hotel yesterday, where I might have been to do a travel piece on Mumbai to link in with the film. Terrorists attacked seven different locations in the city in an attack that is said to have been modelled on the Al Qaida attacks, but was actually carried out by the Deccan Mujahedeen, a formerly unknown militant Indian Islamic splinter group.

The press release invited me to, 'travel to Mumbai with Real Holidays and see sights and sounds from the film, ...[staying] at the Taj Mahal Palace and Towers, Bombay’s most famous building and ...[enjoying] onyx columns, hand-woven silk carpets, crystal chandeliers, a magnificent art collection and a dramatic cantilevered stairway.

Instead, because of a delay in commissioning by some of my editors, I found myself in the Soho screening rooms.

Watch Slumdog Millionaire (out January 9th) to understand something of the real Mumbai. My thoughts and prayers go out to that city now. As for me, I am so deeply deeply grateful that I was not at the Taj Mahal. There but for the grace of God.

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