Rating: 3/5 Stars (Three stars)
Star Cast: Martin Sheen, Mischa Barton, Kal Penn, Rajpal Yadav, Tannishtha Chatterjee
Director: Ravi Kumar
What’s Good: The fact that the director does not shy away from showing India’s downside at the same time pointing out the American arrogance in dealing with this shameful incident.
What’s Bad: Glitches lie in the screenplay. It would have been a delight if the story could have been more fluid.
Loo break: You can wait!
Watch or Not?: The film is surely worth a watch if you want to be stunned by the audacity of an American company getting away with something so horrific.
Thirty years after India’s worst industrial disaster, comes a gripping tale of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy of 1984. When Union Carbide, a big-buck multinational company, sets up a Carbide plant in the heart of Bhopal, it opens up employment for the slum-dwelling locals.
While a family-man Dilip grabs this job for betterment of his livelihood, little does he know that not only his family but the whole town’s life is about to change forever.
Insinuating the worst industrial calamity ever, will Union Carbide take responsibility for it? Well, that’s why the story needs to be told.
Bhopal: A Prayer For Rain Review: Script Analysis
Bhopal: A Prayer For Rain is a sure shot recommendation for anyone who wishes to get an insight into the tragic incident. The story covers every angle possible to bring the instances that led to this disaster. While on one hand we see the usual American arrogance as Union Carbide in spite of knowing the consequences is looking out for its profits, on the other hand of course it is the shoe-licking Indians who would rather think about filling their own pockets than think about their town.
In one of the scenes, Martin Sheen who plays the CEO of Union Carbide is even seen saying ‘Third world countries are always messy’ as if justifying the nature of their horrific actions. My winning point with the script was that at no point did it give me a documentary feel and conveyed just enough. Even though you are flashed with a warning at start stating cinematic liberties have been taken for the film, I feel the story could have been made more gripping with those liberties.
Bhopal: A Prayer For Rain Review: Star Performances
I will start with Rajpal Yadav, who does a fine job at portraying the miserable Indian local, who just wants to better his lifestyle. It is sad that the actor being a pivotal part of the film was not given enough credit for it.
Kal Penn, who plays a 80s journalist, gives a comparatively weaker performance than expected. Other than hopping around in flowery shiny shirts, the director could have used him with much better potential.
Martin Sheen glides perfectly into his role of the shrewd American businessman, who has his eyes on the company and no where else.
Mischa Barton’s cameo is quite an unnecessary one.
Bhopal: A Prayer For Rain Review: Direction, Editing and Screenplay
The first half of the film is just a build up to the actual story of the night of the gas leak. While Motwane, the journalist, is unearthing his big story, the disaster is already in motion. The second half introduces us to the night of the gas leak and there lies the excellent work of the makers. Catching the exact scene of deaths of thousands of locals in less than 72 hours, this ten minute scene is enough to give you goosebumps and set the panic alarm for you in your comfortable seat.
Director Ravi Kumar hits the right nerve when he introduces us to the Indian side of the story which is equally responsible for the tragic incident. Capturing the right pulse of Bhopal, the aftermath and the life 30 years after it could have been shown in a better way. Other than a huge disappointment looking at the compensation figures that are shown at the end, this film with its title ‘A Prayer For Rain’ quite aptly shows the same hope that the people are still living in as Union Carbide goes scot-free and Dow chemicals after acquiring the former raises its hand to take responsibility.
Bhopal: A Prayer For Rain Review: The Last Word
Do not assume that it is a documentary that will bore you with an informative story. This film is a must watch if you wish to know the plight of Bhopal residents, who are still fighting for justice. It is a dose of reality for both Indians and Americans, to learn how they brought on India’s worst chemical disaster. I am going with a 3/5 for this film.
Bhopal: A Prayer for Rain Trailer
Bhopal: A Prayer for Rain releases on 5th December, 2014.
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