It might have earned accolades on international platforms and even being termed as the ‘second Titanic’ in the world cinema, but the film ‘Bhopal: A Prayer for Rain’ remained unsuccessful in wooing most of the people who have either faced the turmoil or have been associated with the organisations and groups working towards the welfare of the tragedy survivors.
HT talked to a few activists and got to know that most of them are dissatisfied with the treatment of the subject. “It is very odd to find a film made without any research work done, without even coming to Bhopal and talking to the tragedy victims. Nobody came and talked to me nor I was invited for the premiere,” says Abdul Jabbar of Gas Peedit Mahila Udyog Sansthan. Jabbar has been working extensively for the welfare of tragedy survivors ever since the disaster.
The film, which has been directed by Ravi Kumar and financed by Sahara Motion Pictures, features Indian actors Rajpal Yadav, Tannishtha Chatterjee, Manoj Joshi and has roped in internationally acclaimed stars Mischa Barton, Martin Sheen and Kal Penn in lead roles. The film was premiered in Bhopal especially for the gas tragedy victims on December 3 and left some of the viewers disillusioned.
“It’s ridiculous that a feature film is being made on Bhopal Gas Tragedy without consulting any of the stakeholders, without asking victims’ experiences and asking them what they have been through,” ND Jaiprakash, convener, Bhopal Gas Peedit Sangharsh Sahyog Samiti.
The film portrays a helpless doctor ‘Dr Chandra’, who tries to treat the victims on that night. The character has been essayed by actor Manoj Joshi and has been inspired from a real doctor late Hiresh Chandra, who was at Gandhi Medical College and tried helping tragedy victims in 1984. When HT contacted his daughter Dolly Chandra, she said, “I think the film is based on hypothesis rather than truth of tragedy... It fails to depict the aftermath of tragedy in the film,” she said. Senior journalist Rajkumar Keswani, who had written about possibility of such a holocaust before it actually happened, too didn’t seem to be satisfied with the portrayal.