It happened on the night of December 3, 1984. Thirty years later, a film on the Bhopal gas tragedy by Ravi Kumar, whose effort is an ode to the victims and those suffering from the after-effects of that dreadful night.
According to statistics that appear on screen, 10,000 bodies were counted in the first 72 hours. The last one is the most damning; Union Carbide never apologized for the disaster.
While a disclaimer states that most findings are true to facts, some scenes have been [by use of cinematic liberty] dramatized to highlight the plight. And what a plight!
Taking us back to that night and a few months before it, Ravi Kumar captures the essence of his docu-drama highlighting how the multi-national hoped to improve the economy of those living in the slums around the plant as well as their apathy.CHECK OUT: BHOPAL - A PRAYER FOR RAIN Movie Preview
The era of 1984, with lighting, mood and styling as well as taking us into the soul of the plant and the goings-on within is captured by an unfaltering camera. The film also highlights the cost-cutting on the use of air-conditioning, which was so vital and a fourth option to safety, should there be an emergency of this magnitude; and the manner in which a cleaner without experience was given a task meant for an experienced hand.
But what is most disturbing is the manner in which Kumar has shown death among cattle, in lakes, on the railway tracks, in the hospital premises as well as shanties and all over the roads.
Kumar hangs his work on two important characters, one a cycle-rickshaw puller Dilip played by Rajpal Yadav, who lands a job in the multi-national as a cleaner and the reporter Motwani (played impressively by Kal Penn) with his independent publication who went after the truth and warned everyone even before the tragedy.
The entire look and feel of the film is dated, a difficult task to achieve. The first half is a bit slow, but post interval the stench reaches your nostrils as death stalks everywhere.
A must see film for those who believe in researched film-making. This film also ensures that this worst industrial disaster which happened in India is not forgotten.
A fitting tribute to those who lost their lives; a grim reminder of government apathy.