Monday, January 12, 2015

MovieNotes: Bhopal A Prayer for Rain

Title: Bhopal A Prayer For Rain
*ing: Martin Sheen, Kal Penn, Rajpal Yadav
Director: Ravi Kumar
Language: English & Hindi
Genre: Historical - Recent

Basic Premise
Movie based on the events around the gas leakage from the Union Carbide plant in Bhopal in 1984 which killed thousands of residents. It is considered one of the of the worst industrial accidents in history.

What Works
Acting - Martin Sheen is good as Warren Anderson, while Rajpal Yadav is brilliant in depicting the role of Dilip, a worker in the Union Carbide Plant.

The depiction of Union Carbide plant as both a means of improving the life of the people around as well as in finally ending their life. As with everything else in life, it is not always black or white but somewhere in the grey. For all practical purposes the factory itself is the biggest character of the movie.

Movies depicting history are a rarity in our cinema. And those dealing with tragedies are even rarer. And this is a sincere effort which must be lauded.

What Doesn't Work
The casting of Kal Penn. Wonder why they chose to give the role of an Indian journalist to an American-Indian actor. His accent becomes a total misfit in the whole scheme of things especially in the context of other actors.

Mischa Barton's character is a total waste and the movie would have still had the same impact without her character's presence.

Although made with a lot of emotion, the movie is unable to state the true long term impact of the disaster which the residents are still suffering from almost thirty years down the line. 

Other Notes
Interesting portrayal of the conflicts between Revenue and Safety.  The biggest concern of the factory supervisors is the survival of the plant as it is their source of livelihood and they are willing to cut corners to ensure the same. In short, it is also a decent commentary on the very Indian concept of "Jugaad".  

Finally who was responsible for the disaster? Warren Anderson, the CEO? The owners, who wanted revenue and were willing to close the loss-making unit? The factory in-charge who went against safety norms to increase revenues? The politicians who were complicit in giving approvals? The medical services which were ill-equipped to handle any emergency? Or everyone together?

Rating - 7/10. Some stories need to be told lest they are forgotten.

Previously on MovieNotes - PK

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