In September 2014, Warren Anderson died, without ever having faced trial in India for his role in the horrific catastrophe. Warren Anderson was then the Chief Executive Officer of Union Carbide, the American pesticide factory from which forty tonnes of toxic methyl isocyanate (MIC) gas leaked out into surrounding shanties, murdering thousands of people and animals, its after effects still killing and maiming generations.
Bhopal: A Prayer For Rain shows how Union Carbide flouted major safety precautions, resulting in the gas leak. The film, directed by Ravi Kumar, is a half-baked, fictionalized retelling, with real protagonists like Warren Anderson (Martin Sheen) and the persistent journalist Motwani (Kal Penn), and some created for dramatic effect like the rickshaw puller Dilip (Rajpal Yadav) and his wife Leena (Tannistha Chatterjee).
This docudrama follows a typical trajectory, largely told through Dilip’s eyes as he becomes a safety worker at Union Carbide when a co-worker, his own bastiwala, dies of chemical poisoning.
A rickshaw-puller, Dilip (Rajpal Yadav) has to get his sister married and thus Dilip accepts a job in the Carbide factory. As the film progresses, he realises his life is in danger when colleagues who are working around MIC (the lethal gas) start falling ill. Some of them get debilitating diseases.
Dilip’s journalist friend Motwani warns him to be careful. But he doesn’t pay heed. On the night of his sister’s wedding, the gas leaks into the city and the locals are asked to flee. However many perish before they can leave their homes. What is meant to be a night of celebration for Dilip turns into his worst nightmare.
Director Ravi Kumar, should be applauded for picking a rather grave subject for his latest film. Though the enormity of the accident is never lost in the film, one wished it was more intense.
The only let down with Bhopal: A Prayer For Rain is that fact that the film drags for quite some time and only picks up momentum towards the end and leaves you teary eyed.
Sadly, this film does not offer any new insights into the tragedy but is still worthy to be seen.
It’s been a long thirty year wait and still we see no justice; well we are talking about the Bhopal gas tragedy, the world’s biggest industrial disast...2.5