Cast: Martin Sheen, Kal Penn, Tanishta Chaterjee, Rajpal Yadav & Lisa Dwan.
Directed by: Ravi Kumar.
Disclaimer: Warren Anderson is dead. The horror of that ill-fated night in Bhopal though is alive in millions affected by that tragedy. Does this film deliver? Will the audience relate to the horror of that dark night? Because for the ones who still live the horror as part of the aftermath, justice has been delayed, and also denied.
Plot: Dilip (Rajpal Yadav), a rickshaw puller, who in a desperate attempt to earn more money, gets into Union Carbide as a daily wage labourer. Local journalist Motwani (Kal Penn) feels that all is not well with the company’s safety norms, but he can not single out the problem, till his best friend, dies of poisoning. Motwani isn’t the only one worried. There is a safety officer (Joy Sengupta) who keeps warning the supervisors about the dangers but his repeated attempts fall on deaf ears. The company CEO, Warren Anderson (Martin Sheen) is a kind man, but shrewd and cutthroat when it comes to making decisions. He knows that for politicians in India, life comes cheap. Then the inevitable happens.
Actor Prepares: The best bet ‘Martin Sheen’ gets very little screen time, even though trying to show the humane side of Warren Anderson, might not go down to well with many viewers. Kal Penn with that English accent horribly exposes the under preparedness of the Director when it comes to understanding the city. It is Rajpal Yadav who by far is most impressive in his act.
Director’s Cut: This is Ravi Kumar’s first attempt as a full-length feature film director. His technical flaws are on complete completely in this project. His goofing up with the national geographic magazine sequence, his attempt in roping in a model as a widow to add glamour, his skipping of important chapters in this great tragedy, hoping to fit in too much in a two-hour film, shows his lack of finesse in making such a sensitive film.
Just Wow: The film’s music (Benjamin Wallfisch) adds flavor to the film. The film’s writers (Ravi Kumar, David Brooks) could have done a bit more, to make the film on such a huge tragedy more intense and engaging. While the film’s cinematography (Charlie Wuppermann, Anil Chandel, and Jean-Marc Selva) is good, the film’s editing (Chris Gill) is absolutely crisp. Full marks to Charlie Wuppermann (director of photography) for his breathtaking and cinematic magic with his camera (do not miss the scene of the floating bodies in the lake).
Spoilers: Is national geographic filing a defamation case on its makers? Hello! In the age of google, atleast get the timelines right? Why add models as widows? There was no ramp around? The direction of the film, though a challenge has its technical flaws.
Grade: B. (Kudos! For picking up the issue, that has been swept below the carpet for so long. It’s a slap to the government on their apathy towards the victims. Give it a shot, inspite of its shortcomings this needs to be seen)