‘One Less God.’
Divya Salaskar was both moved and inspired when she first saw One Less God, writer-director Lliam Worthington’s thriller which centres on the three-day siege at Mumbai’s Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in which 166 people died.
Salaskar has a personal connection to those horrific events: Her father, Mumbai police senior inspector Vijay Salaskar, was killed in an ambush by terrorists at the Cama & Albless Hospital on November 26 2008, part of the co-ordinated attacks on the city.
Her father, who headed the Anti-Extortion Cell, was honoured with the Ashoka Chakra, India’s highest military award for valour, courageous action or self-sacrifice, the equivalent of the US Army’s Medal of Honour and the British George Cross.
The only surviving terrorist, Ajmal Amir Kasab, was convicted of the murder of Salaskar and five other cops and was hanged in 2011.
Divya, now 31, saw a trailer for the film on Facebook as part of her regular searches for postings about the events she refers to as 26/11, and contacted the director, who arranged for her to see a print.
“The film shows how people were bound together regardless of their creed, cast or religion,” says Divya, a HR consultant who is coming to Australia to take part in Q&A screenings with the director later this month.
Produced by Maren Smith, Joel Hagen and Worthington with Nelson Lau as co-producer, One Less God begins a staggered theatrical release this Thursday.
Divya was especially moved by the scenes involving Atiya (Mihika Rao), a young girl who came to Mumbai with her grandfather (SukhRaj Deepak) to visit her dying mother in hospital.
“The grandfather’s bravery in protecting his granddaughter was typical of the many heroic acts during 26/11, including by hotel staff,” she observes. “It is very commendable that not one member of the hotel staff resigned after the attacks.”
Divya Salaskar with her father.
As for her father, she says: “Vijay Salaskar was the most gentle human being. He was not just my father, he was my best friend, my guide and my philosopher. There was practically nothing that I did not share with him.”
The thriller chronicles events from the from the perspectives of both hostages and terrorists. The cast includes Joseph Mahler Taylor as an Irish backpacker, Martelle Hammer as an ambitious French journalist, Joseph J.U. Taylor as a Texan widower, Igor Kreyman as a Turkish tourist, Nathan Kaye as a dysfunctional rock star and Kieran Kumar and Kabir Singh as young men who were told they were doing ‘God’s work’ and would be hailed as great heroes forever more.
Worthington shot his debut film in 2014 as a “labour of love” at the Carrington Hotel in Katoomba and various locations around Sydney and the NSW Central Coast and in Nepal during the Holi festival of colours.
He then spent several years raising completion funds and the money for post-production, securing theatrical distribution via Umbrella Entertainment and foreign sales via Multivisionnaire.
Indian distributor Runaway-Luminosity will launch the film in Mumbai in November and there are deals for numerous territories including North America, China, Japan and the UK.
Worthington has not seen Anthony Maras’ Hotel Mumbai, which will open the Adelaide Film Festival on October 10.
The Australian and Indian theatrical release is being used to raise funds to support survivors and the families of victims of the attacks with 20 per cent of the producers’ theatrical receipts going to the ‘I Love Mumbai Foundation,’ a charity renowned for its efforts to help those most affected by the tragedy.
October 11-18 Classic Elsternwick, Lido Hawthorn
November 1-8 Metro Cinema Lake Haven
November 8-15 Sorrento Athenaeum Cinema
SPECIAL EVENT SCREENINGS
Wednesday October 10 Q & A Lido, Hawthorn
Sunday October 21 Q & A Red Carpet Event Cinemas, Tuggerah
Tuesday October 23 Sydney Red Carpet Hoyts, Entertainment Quarter
Wednesday October 24 Q & A Event Cinemas, Parramatta
Friday October 26 Q & A Avoca Beach Picture Theatre
Saturday October 27 Q & A Real Film Festival, Newcastle
Monday October 29 Q & A Avoca Beach Picture Theatre
Sunday November 18 Q & A Avoca Beach Picture Theatre