Debutant director Lliam Worthington’s ONE LESS GOD is inspired by true events and is designed as a documentary-cum-disaster film. Made in the memory of the 166 people who lost their lives during November 26, 2008, terrorist attacks in Mumbai, the film captures the near-death moments of the survivors, who were holed up at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel on that fateful day.
The narrative begins on a tacky note with shaky frames created by handheld camera shots. These random shots offer a glimpse of the cultural diversity of India. And among these shots are few indicating that indicate a small fishing trawler is heading towards our shore with some intruders onboard.
And soon, these intruders create mayhem in the city. They are on a killing spree, shooting random people at sight. A bunch of these terrorists enters Taj Mahal Hotel.
And then, in between the gunshots that ensures the ruthless killing, the narrative settles on a group of the hotel’s guests who are trapped between the terrorist’s bullets and death.
The guest list includes; Oz (Nathan Kaye) the Jewish Australian rock star, Claire (Martelle Hammer) the Indo-French journalist, Eda (Reilly O’Byrne Inglis) and Selim (Igor Kreyman) the two squabbling Turkish teenagers, Sean (Joseph Mahler Taylor) the Irish backpacker who is seeking spiritual answers and lands up assisting Nima (Jan Langford Penny) a wounded old woman and saving Atiya (Mihika Rao) a young girl who is in Mumbai with her aristocratic grandfather (SukhRaj Deepak).
Among the terrorists, it is only the gun-trotting Yaaseen (Kabir Singh) and Ahmad (Kieran Kumar) who are given prominence.
Within the first twenty minutes of viewing, fatigue sets in and the film gets tedious to watch. You would be saying: “Lord give me patience and give it to me now, especially while watching this film.”
And, while gaping at the screen, you’d be mentally juggling questions. Most prominent among them would be; why would someone make such a film? Who would watch a film like this? And, apart from ripping open old wounds, what is the purpose of this film?
The voice over that bookends the narrative is weak and thus fails to create an impact. Also by the end, there would be another set of questions that make you ponder. They are: Is there a God and does he exist? If he does exist, whom does he love more, the terrorist or the victims of terrorism?
Director Lliam Worthington’s astutely crafted film does not answer any of the above questions, yet, it subtly succeeds in making you realize that we are life and life is love.
By Troy Ribeiro