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Times of India
30 years on, a haunting reminder of the biggest human tragedy
The film revisits the Bhopal gas tragedy of December 1984 that left around 3700 people dead and countless others, incapacitated for life.
Ravi Kumar and his co-writer David Brooks(seen in the film as Shane), who worked on the script for nearly five years, manage to touch a raw nerve with this film. This grim tale that recounts the story of the biggest human tragedy caused because of the lethal methyl isocyanate (MIC) leak from the Union Carbide factory in Bhopal is compelling.
At the centre of the story is a rickshaw-puller, Dilip (Rajpal) who becomes a Carbider to save his family from starving. Naive to the callousness of the Yankees, who equate India to a third world country and for whom Indian lives are cheap, Dilip is happy to wear their uniform, shake their hand and do a job he is not qualified for. His immediate concerns are getting his younger sister married and pampering his wife Leela (Tannishta). And the actual perils of living surrounding by 40-tonne barrels of the poisonous MIC doesn't strike him or any of his impoverished factory co-workers till death comes calling.
However, Dilip's close friend Motwani (Kal Penn), a journalist with Gandhian values, starts a scathing attack on the American corporation through his newspaper, Voice Of Bhopal. He warns the locals about sleeping with the enemy. Joining the nattily-dressed Motwani(white trousers, colourful shirts) in his conscientious endeavour is American lifestyle journalist Ava (Mischa Barton), who confronts the goras with her searing questions.
Told for a part in the Julia Roberts' Erin Brockovich (2000) and Matt Damon's Promised Land (2012) style, the film lacks gloss but it still works as an eye-opener. It also depicts how even back then India had morally corrupt politicians who barely spared a thought for the plight of the common man! Somethings don't change. In spite of depicting a film based on true incidents, the film is not a documentary and manages to connect emotionally.
Sheen as Wes Anderson, the CEO of Union Carbide, is sharp and effective. While Kal and the lovely Mischa, as the journalists on the rampage, have you rooting for them, Rajpal and Tannishta are nicely believable.
करीब तीस साल पहले हुई भोपाल गैस त्रासदी पर बनी इस फिल्म के डायरेक्टर रवि कुमार की तारीफ करनी होगी जिन्होंने बॉक्स ऑफिस का मोह पूरी तरह त्याग कर ऐसी फिल्म बनाई है जो मसाला फिल्मों के शौकीनों को बेशक पसंद ना आए लेकिन दर्शकों की उस क्लास को यकीनन यह फिल्म पसंद आएगी जो पर्दे पर कड़वा सच देखना चाहते हैं। डेविड ब्रुक्स और रवि कुमार की लिखी इस स्क्रिप्ट में ऐसा बहुत कुछ है जो दर्शनीय है और ऐसी स्क्रिप्ट को लिखने में यकीनन बेहद मेहनत करनी पड़ती है।
कहानी: दिलीप (राजपाल यादव) को भोपाल की यूनियन कारबाइड कंपनी में नौकरी मिली है, नौकरी लगने के बाद दिलीप और उसकी पत्नी (तनिष्ठा चटर्जी) को उम्मीद है अब उनके परिवार के अच्छे दिन आने वाले हैं, लेकिन गैस रिसाव की घटना उनके सारे सपनों को तोड़ देती है।
ऐक्टिंग: राजपाल यादव ने अपने किरदार का रोल बेहतरीन तरीके से निभाया है। यकीनन इस किरदार को राजपाल से बेहतर कोई दूसरा किरदार निभा ही नहीं सकता था। तनिष्ठा ने अपनी भूमिका को सच के बेहद नजदीक पेश करने की अच्छी कोशिश की है। वहीं फिल्म के हॉलिवुड कलाकार माार्टिन शीन, मिशा बेन ने अपने किरदारों को ठीक-ठाक ही रखा है।
डायरेक्शन: यकीनन रवि कुमार सब्जेक्ट के प्रति ईमानदार रहे हैं और और सभी ऐक्टर्स से बेस्ट काम भी लिया है, पर ऐसा लगता है इस मूवी को बनाते वक्त रवि यह तय नहीं कर पाए कि वह डॉक्युमेंट्री बना रहे हैं या दर्शकों की हर क्लास के लिए फिल्म बना रहे हैं। फर्स्ट हाफ डॉक्युमेंट्री जैसा है तो इंटरवल के बाद फिल्म कुछ स्पीड पकड़ती है। गैस त्रासदी के बाद के सीन काफी दमदार हैं लेकिन फिल्म का स्क्रीनप्ले और एडिटिंग कमजोर है। वहीं फिल्म का ज्यादा हिस्सा अंग्रेजी में है, अच्छा होता इसमें सबटाइटल रखे जाते ताकि दर्शकों की आम क्लास को सीन समझ आ जाते। भोपाल गैस त्रासदी बड़ा हादसा था इसकी तह तक अगर आप जाना चाहते है तो फिल्म देखी जा सकती है।
Film Bhopal: A Prayer For Rain Director Ravi Kumar Actors Martin Sheen, Kal Penn, Mischa Barton, Manoj Joshi, Rajpal Yadav, Tannishta Chatterjee Certification U Rating * * * 1984: A Corporate Holocaust
It's a common notion that giant multinationals-on-screen and otherwise-harbour ruthless suits that invoke visions of grey metallic corridors, low-angle shots of cloud-kissing skyscrapers and soulless, colorless boardrooms. And Union Carbide, in a way, is the Ground Zero of evil corporations.
Here, the infamous Middle-Indian pesticide plant is framed like a castle of doom. Smoke bellows from it like a sleeping dragon; an underlying sense of dread punctuates every hopeful moment (of which there are few), and every act of callous negligence (of which there are many).
Unlike Bhopal Express (1999), which primarily deals with poignant personal aftermaths, Ravi Kumar's film is a valiant throwback to events leading up to that horrific night.
The title has two connotations: Victims prayed for rain because rinsing faces became the only partial solution, and Carbide employees prayed for rain to end the drought so that farmers would buy pesticides and they could keep their jobs.
This production-or-maintenance dilemma is demonstrated through the inner turmoil of various characters: A doomsayer journalist (Penn), an American reporter (Barton) who goes from lifestyle to life in a heartbeat, a cynical government doctor (Joshi), pan-chewing corrupt supervisors, safety officers and politicians. Most of these folks, keeping with crossover syndromes, are miscast and are little more than caricatured cogs in a broken wheel. Like in many dramatized representations, an ill-fated couple becomes the face of adversity. Dilip (Yadav; too eager) is a cash-strapped worker who becomes one of the many untrained eyes on site, and his wife Leela (Chatterjee) quietly pushes him to afford his sister's humble wedding. Memorable is the manner he initially replaces a dead worker, whose widowed bright-eyed wife bears a striking and perhaps intentional resemblance to photojournalist Steve McCurry's iconic 'Afghan Girl'.
Much of the film's effectiveness is enveloped within the queasy anticipation of actual events. The final minutes define the purpose of this effort; chaotic images of death and suffering render the 80-minute long and oft-technical buildup quite inconsequential.
Curiously, Kumar lends a degree of ambiguity to the man at the epicenter, UCC chairman Warren Anderson (Sheen). He is shown as a veteran clearly expositing the fact that Union Carbide India Ltd. existed separately as a cauldron of corruption and ignorance-a body that quickly turns from his symbol of job-creating goodwill into a cross to bear with great cowardice.
This isn't an easy event to storify, because it is even harder to watch. While much of it merely lends grainy well-cut images to pages we've been hesitant to read about, this is a film that shouldn't be escaped.
Because we see and hear, through sketchy lives, why Bhopal lost its identity and became forever etched in minds as the unfortunate prefix to 'gas tragedy'.
Bhopal: A Prayer For Rain is based on a real incident of the Bhopal gas tragedy which happened in 1984.
Apparently, a part of the film Bhopal: A Prayer For Rain has been shot at the location of the tragedy to add authenticity to the film.
Bhopal: A Prayer For Rain was supposed to release in late 2010, but was delayed and screened at several film festivals.
Bhopal: A Prayer for Rain is based on the Bhopal gas disaster that had occurred in India on December 2-3, 1984.
The film shows events that led to the killing of nearly 3777 people when a poisonous gas leak happened right in the midst of civilisation. Poor farmers who were already suffering from a drought had to bear the brunt of yet another tragedy because some of them found work in this killer factory of the Union Carbide. A rickshaw-puller called Dilip(Rajpal Yadav) is the protagonist. Since he has to get his 17-year-old sister married, Dilip accepts a job in the Carbide factory and 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(Kal Penn) 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. Thirty years after the tragedy, Bhopal still shudders with the memory of this calamity that has wreaked their lives forever.
Ravi Kumar's latest released drama based on Bhopal gas tragedy of December 1984 is getting rave reviews.
Let's take a look at what the audience has to say on Twitter...
Bhopal a prayer of rain ..go for it..a phenomenal documentary I ever had..so touchy.let the soul of victims rest on peace.