“Sach likhta hoon na miyan, wo sunna nahin kisi ko!” Imagine a journalist saying this when asked who reads you & then rushing towards the infamous Bhopal Gas Tragedy site, just to know the truth. Sounds fictional, given the state of journalism these days, right? Well, it wasn’t back then in 1984 when the Bhopal Disaster happened. This particular dialogue was said by Jagmohan Kumawat, played by Sunny Hinduja in the recently released “The Railway Men”, a Netflix series, now also becoming the talk of the town as Bhopal gas Tragedy Series.
Before I dive deeper into talking about how humanly amazing this series is, here are some facts about the Bhopal Gas Tragedy & why it is the World’s Worst Industrial Disaster.
A company named Union Carbide, headquartered in the US had its factory in Bhopal. They manufactured pesticides there and hence operated with a lot of chemicals & gasses. In 1984, one fine night, owing to the carelessness of the team & team leaders, Methyl Isocyanate (MIC) leaked from a container & spread across Bhopal in no time. It made the entire air poisonous, hence unbreathable.
If you happen to go by the linked page above, you’d know that in the end, the US courts cleared all charges against the company & said only Indians working in the factory were responsible for the mishap. Alas, how unfortunate it is to first die like that & then survive with the blame of killing one’s own countrymen, & that too so many!
The Indian government says some 3,500 people died within days of the gas leak and more than 15,000 in the years since. Campaigners put the death toll as high as 25,000 and say the effects of the gas continue to this day. As a commemoration of this day, India celebrates National Pollution Control Day every 2nd December. The theme for National Pollution Control Day 2023 is “Sustainable Development for a Clean and Healthy Planet”.
Now, coming back to The Railway Men Series, here are my two cents about it. Also, I am no expert who can write a Railway Men Series review, I will only be talking about why this series vibed with me and is worth a watch!
This 4-episodes Netflix Series, presented by YRF Entertainment, directed by Shiv Rawail, and written by Aayushi Gupta is a thrilling story that keeps you gripped for a whole runtime of 4 hours. Every actor so beautifully fits into the character. We have:
Other noteworthy performances are from Juhi Chawla, Sunny Hinduja, Raghubir Yadav, Mandira Bedi, and Sunita Rajwar. Even actors with a single scene nailed it like magic.
I have a special soft corner for Babil because he is such a cutieeee. There are videos doing rounds around how during the shoot he found a father figure in Kay Kay, and they are just so wholesome. R Madhavan came as a fresh ray of hope and energy, just like Behti Hawa. Divyenndu, our Munna Bhaiya, had the best character development. He arrived as a cunning conman and thrived as a disaster warrior. His instances with two orphan kids will make you rethink the social normsRaghubir Yadav as security guard came across as the epitome of humanity. Small yet impactful character.
The casting of The Railway Men is a good example of what good actors can do with good scripts.
Apart from the fact that the story is based on real-life incidents, how it has been told is so thrilling. Every minute felt so heavy during crucial moments. From sentiments to patriotism, every emotion was well communicated, thanks to the way the narrative was planned. It also reminded me of the Chernobyl series, based on yet another industrial disaster. Kudos to the team for keeping the visuals similar to real-life Bhopal and giving the 1984 vibe. Once you start the series, you’ll easily sail through 4 hours without feeling “too much” for even a moment. You feel like being a part of the scenario, sometimes managing the crowd at Bhopal junction with Kay Kay, sometimes going to save Bhopal with Madhavan. Bhopal Junction felt like Hogwarts School, fighting back with all its guts. Potterheads will understand the emotion for sure!
Although Bhopal’s Gas Tragedy happened in 1984, it seems like some things never change. Hard-hitting politics, dirty toxic mindset, men in power just being concerned about power, truth, and humanity in question forever. The vicious circle of life and struggles always haunt us like this eternally. Is this ever going to change? Looks like a challenge. A too hopeful question.
But remember, even in the darkest of times, you will find righteous people around you. Iftekaar Siddiqui’s personality felt too good to be true, holding tight to his ethics & morality, living through the guilt of not being able to save a life. The fact that it is based on Ghulam Dastagir, a real-life legend, is in itself a wholesome optimism.
Meanwhile, Munna Bhaiya every time he sees the conman being good: “Ye Bhi Theek Hai!”
To end up with this article, I’d say that if you are a fan of stories that stay and impact your perception of life in some manner, this is your next watch on Netflix!