Saturday, 13 December 2014

Bhopal - A prayer for Rain :: Movie Review

                                                     

Bhopal- A Payer for Rain is a hard hitting, heart wresting meticulously crafted docu-drama that stirs your soul with on-screen depiction of the biggest Industrial disaster that not only left tens of thousands killed but many more to suffer with after effects of it.  This film aims at chronicling the negligence that led to the tragedy, fuelled by collusion between the US’ Union Carbide Corporation (UCC) and Indian politicians. The events leading up to the world's biggest Industrial disaster are dutifully recounted in Ravi Kumar's docudrama arriving three decades after the disaster took place. The movie never quite summons the necessary dramatic urgency, but it well conveys the conditions that precipitated event and the permissiveness accorded to multi-national corporations that will no doubt result in future such occurrences.  The entire industrial scenes are so realistic. It’s surprising to see such perfection in Bollywood cinema. The climax is visually challenging to watch without embracing your hearts. It makes you reason and reflect over the hazardous effect of being careless when it comes to safety.  Before the credits rolled, I learned that yet people are suffering due to the gas leaked 30 years ago. Yet families have not been given the justice they deserved. The Union Carbide has never apologized till date for their heinous crime. This movie is a blast from the past that wants to make the lives of the people in Bhopal healthy and secure after suffering for 30 long years! Poverty, Greed & carelessness, seem to be the driving factors towards this tragedy. Poverty of the local inhabitants lures them to work for this corporation even after they know that safety norms are being flouted, Greed of local politicians who accept bagfuls of money from Corporation Officials and carelessness on the part of some Corporation employees who turn a blind eye to safety norms just for the sake of saving money for the sake of profitability of Corporation.
What can you say about a film made on a true-life disaster? Not a natural disaster. A disaster created more by human apathy than by greed; more by turning a blind eye to the things you can fix than keeping yourself covered; more by believing you are doing the right thing than by convincing yourself that you did your due diligence; more by shirking your responsibilities than by being unapologetic about your negligences. The incident itself was of course unfortunate, and Bhopal - A Prayer for Rain brings about the events that led up to the eventual disaster in an engaging format. - See more at: http://wogma.com/movie/bhopal-prayer-rain-review/#sthash.CfNTBFCA.dpuf
What can you say about a film made on a true-life disaster? Not a natural disaster. A disaster created more by human apathy than by greed; more by turning a blind eye to the things you can fix than keeping yourself covered; more by believing you are doing the right thing than by convincing yourself that you did your due diligence; more by shirking your responsibilities than by being unapologetic about your negligences. The incident itself was of course unfortunate, and Bhopal - A Prayer for Rain brings about the events that led up to the eventual disaster in an engaging format. - See more at: http://wogma.com/movie/bhopal-prayer-rain-review/#sthash.CfNTBFCA.dpuf
What can you say about a film made on a true-life disaster? Not a natural disaster. A disaster created more by human apathy than by greed; more by turning a blind eye to the things you can fix than keeping yourself covered; more by believing you are doing the right thing than by convincing yourself that you did your due diligence; more by shirking your responsibilities than by being unapologetic about your negligences. The incident itself was of course unfortunate, and Bhopal - A Prayer for Rain brings about the events that led up to the eventual disaster in an engaging format. - See more at: http://wogma.com/movie/bhopal-prayer-rain-review/#sthash.CfNTBFCA.dpuf
  
 STORY & SCREENPLAY                                     ::                       The story of the movie has been co-penned by Ravi Kumar along with David Brooks. The movie begins with a disclaimer " Based on true events but certain cinematic liberties have been taken for dramatic effect ".Writers Ravi Kumar and David Brooks’ Bhopal is a well-researched documentation of what led to “the world’s worst ever chemical disaster”. It carefully, meticulously, chronologically tells the story of why and how, at around 12.30 am on December 3, 1984, water entered Tank E610 containing 42 tons of methyl isocyanate (MIC) at the Union Carbide India Limited’s (UCIL) plant in Bhopal. It shows how Union Carbide Corporation’s CEO, Warren Anderson (Martin Sheen), reacted when, in 45 to 60 minutes, about 30 metric tons of MIC vapours leaked silently into the atmosphere the plant’s warning siren was kept switched off, deliberately. It makes us watch what happened as clouds of toxic gases drifted through residential areas surrounding the plant, how the local hospital tried to cope with hordes of patients coughing, choking, their stinging eyes bleeding. Kumar and Brooks manage to sketch a few knottier sociopolitical crevices into the film's dialogue than you'd expect—but not by much. When a backpacking fashion journalist (Mischa Barton, making a two-scene cameo as the face of Western humanitarianism) hitches a ride in Edwards's motorcade, she turns inexplicably intrepid, challenging him for "choking" Bhopal. Edwards replies, "We're not making perfume here, but this factory feeds this town." The point isn't that the filmmakers agree with Edwards, but that Sheen is giving him the full range of corporatist fat-cat self-justifications—and his Edwards looks like he really believes every one. Bhopal brings us living, breathing human beings in the form of the impoverished rickshaw-puller Dilip (Rajpal Yadav) who takes up a job in the UCC factory, his wife Leela (Tannishtha Chatterjee), the local journalist Motwani (Kal Penn) who is determined to expose UCC for storing dangerous chemicals in hazardous conditions, and Rekha, the widow of the worker Rakesh who was killed by one of those chemicals much before the leak. When the film is telling the story of the slum dwellers around that Bhopal factory, it is moving and realistic. The poignancy is exacerbated by the fact that, knowing what we know about the night of December 2, 1984, we assume they will be dead by the end of the film. We grow attached to Dilip. And that hurts. As the story rolls along, Dilip realises that the factory is unsafe. He can’t afford to leave though, because of his desperate circumstances. Dilip epitomises the tragedy of Bhopal – of abject poverty, of how corrupt netas and a heartless business empire exploited that poverty. In the portrayal of Dilip, his milieu, Motwani’s crusade and Indian politicians, the film can’t be faulted. The portrayal of the UCC players from overseas is extremely troublesome though. There are three of them in the film: Carbide CEO Warren Anderson (Martin Sheen), Edward “the accounts guy”, and Shane Miller (David Brooks) who is the company’s fixer in Bhopal. They are the big bosses whose larger machinations controlled the goings-on at this UCC plant in India, leading to the leak of the deadly methyl isocyanate (MIC) gas. Yet, the film makes every effort to make them likeable to viewers, while giving the culpable Indians – the factory supervisor Choudhary (Vineet Kumar) and the bribe-taking Madhya Pradesh politician (Satish Kaushik) – a sleazy air about them. The film’s American Nice Guy No. 1 is Shane. He may be shown delivering a bribe, yet he is the voice of everyone’s conscience, constantly slamming Edward’s ruthlessness. Nice Guy No. 2 is Anderson. The Carbide CEO is shown repeatedly justifying negligence at UCC Bhopal; he knows that cost cutting at the factory has translated into unskilled labour being used to run machines requiring expertise; one assumes he knows that the plant’s air-conditioning has been turned off despite the in-house safety officer’s protests; yet Bhopal works hard to get us to like him. The dominant image of Anderson from the film is as a sweet – even if patronising  white man who stops to speak to the little son of an Indian household employee; a jolly old, hard-working, all-American blue collar worker who rose to riches from humble beginnings. These men did not have to be portrayed as cliched villains with fangs and horns. Of course they could have had with shades of grey. But what purpose was served by having Sheen play the Carbide chief with a charming, avuncular air of benevolence? Most frustrating is the fact that the film doesn’t make any statement about what happened post the tragedy.

begins with the disclaimer “Based on true events but certain cinematic liberties have been taken for dramatic effect.”  - See more at: http://www.hindustantimes.com/entertainment/reviews/bhopal-a-prayer-for-rain-review-it-s-heart-wrenching-but-where-s-the-intensity/article1-1293101.aspx#sthash.qIzhjo4S.dpu
STARCAST                                                                   ::                      Rajpal Yadav as Dilip is simply mind blowing. He has portrayed his character with such utmost conviction that he simply draws your attention unto him as the movie progresses and you begin to get attached to his character. Rajpal has once again proved that he is one of the most versatile and talented actors that we have today. Tannishtha Chatterjee, who plays his wife, brings intensity to what is a small part. She has played the role of a housewife with ease and conviction. Martin Sheen as the Carbide Chief towers above the entire cast. He brings to his role of the carbide chief, killer elements of motivational integrity that make the monster humane yet pardonable. Kal Penn has impressively portrayed the character of reporter Motwani and it is his character that induces some humor in the movie though sarcastically. Vineet Kumar has given a commendable performance as the pan chewing supervisor. Joy SenGupta is impressive as the safety incharge of the corporation who resigns from the job when he sees that all the safety norms are being flouted. In the ensemble starcast noticeable performances have been given by Mischa Barton, Fagun Thakrar, Manoj Joshi, David Brooks and Satish Kaushik.
it’s Martin Sheen who towers above the entire cast. He brings to his role of the Carbide killer elements of motivational integrity that make the monster humane yet unpardonable. - See more at: http://freepressjournal.in/movie-review-bhopal-a-prayer-for-rain-disturbing-timely-and-hard-hitting/#sthash.jXbERWTM.dpuf

TECHNICAL FINESSE                                             ::                            The music for this movie has been composed by Benjamin Wallfisch. Music is crafted very well and traditional folk songs in the background bring nostalgia.  Anil Chandel’s cinematography brings to life the dirt and squalor of the life of the slum-dwellers, who lived around the plant and bore the brunt of the poison gas and are still fighting its after-effects. Chandel also marks the immediate aftermath of the disaster -- dead bodies strewn across railway tracks and hospital corridors, people jumping into polluted water to alleviate the impact of the gas but suffocating to death, children and aged people vomiting blood, the doctors and the medical staff at the government hospital struggling to cope with the onslaught of an entire city knocking at their doors. The movie has been edited by Chris Gill & Maria Valente who have kept the run-time of the movie to 103 minutes. They deserve accolades for their crisp & precise editing as despite this movie being a docu-drama, they manage to keep the audience hooked on unto the movie. Director and writer Ravi Kumar has portrayed every scene in the most realistic atmosphere, detailing each incident with dramatic pauses and genuine expressions. He has ably built and portrayed the story with emotions which came rolling down in tears by the end of the climax.

CONCLUSION                                                            ::                     It is a must watch especially for cinema connoisseurs for its effective portrayal of what all went behind the biggest Industrial disaster that mankind has ever gone through. I am giving it three stars out of five. 

ROHIT SHARMA.
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