Actor Raajpal Yadav was in Bhopal on Wednesday to attend the special premiere of ‘Bhopal: A Prayer for Rain’, a movie based on Bhopal gas tragedy, at Cinepolis. The film will release on December 5.
Yadav, a National School of Drama alumnus, visited Bhopal along with actors Tannishtha Chatterjee, Manoj Joshi and director Ravi Kumar to talk about the film.
The movie also features Martin Sheen as Warren Anderson, Mischa Barton as Eva Gascon, a young journalist, Tannishtha Chatterjee, who plays Leela, Raajpal Yadav’s wife and Kal Penn.
The film is inspired by a book ‘Bhopal – Lessons Of A Gas Tragedy’ penned by Sanjoy Hazarika. "The book was so intriguing and thrilling that I was bound to take the first four pages as it is in my script," says director Ravi Kumar.
"Several documentaries and docu-dramas were made on this subject but no full-fledged feature film was made. The film is basically a research and study of two parts — the tragedy and the aftermath. The film has been screened before international audience which thinks it is the ‘second Titanic’.
There’s a web of emotions, feelings and message built around the tragedy. It has been shot with utmost honesty and I am proud to be a part of it, says Yadav who plays Dilip, a labourer at Union Carbide plant.
Raajpal further says, "The people of Bhopal are closely associated with this tragic event. We have tried to incorporate peoples' emotions in the film. I bet the film will not let you sleep until you make sure you and your family are safe. It would not be an exaggeration to say that most of them would want to wear a helmet before riding or turn off their gas regulators in the night before sleeping."
On being asked where, according to him, does Indian cinema stand in the world film industry, he said, "I have been in the acting industry for the past 26 years and we have grown a lot. Gone are the days when people only used to watch films for entertainment. You have to give some substance as well."
The actor, who did not even take a single penny for doing the film, says, "A certain percentage of the film’s collection will be used for the welfare of gas victims."
Director Ravi Kumar speaks
The film has been an emotional journey for all of us. There were many political, financial and legal pressures but we managed to deal with them. People from Bhopal, the survivors and support groups helped us throughout and we are indebted to them.
Actor Tannishtha Chatterjee speaks
It was a coincidence that I received three scripts based on Bhopal gas tragedy in the same year. Since the beginning, I knew this is an honest attempt and needs such treatment. I did this one as it does not only entertain but enlightens and engages too.
Actor Manoj Joshi speaks
I remember I was working as a layout artist in a newspaper in 1984 when the incident occurred. The tragedy shook the whole nation and I read about it a lot at that time. Then one day, I was approached for a role in this film. I had no reason to say no. I play Dr Chandra, who is a helpless doctor but still tries to make his best efforts to minimise the impact. It is a film worth watching.