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Bhopal: A Prayer For Rain Movie Review

Bhopal: A Prayer For Rain Movie Rating

The medium of cinema is an enormously influential and commanding one. There are certain films which not just awaken you, but also act as a 'mirror' to make you stand up and take notice of reality. One such film is this week's release BHOPAL: A PRAYER FOR RAIN, which deals with an extremely serious and sensitive real life story of the infamous Bhopal gas tragedy. This film is a historical-drama which is set amidst a disaster which occurred in India in 1984. Does the director Ravi Kumar manage to do 'justice' in narrating one of the biggest tragic story known to man? Let's analyze.

The film starts off with a flashback story that recalls the fateful night of the gigantic tragedy and all the events which led to that. The film's protagonist Dilip (Rajpal Yadav) is a rickshaw puller by profession. After an untimely 'accident' robs him off his profession, a chance meeting with the Union Carbide official, lands him a job as a cleaner in the company. Everything goes on well till the time Dilip's co-worker becomes a victim of an 'acid attack' and dies. This paves way for Dilip to put himself into the deceased man's shoes and uniform (quite literally). The plant's lethargic and careless officer Chaudhary (Vinit Kumar) hires Dilip for the job without giving him any job safety instructions. Amidst all this, the Chief Executive of Union Carbide Warren Anderson (Martin Sheen) lands up in Bhopal only to 'take care' of the politicians and give the workers a pep talk! He even takes a surprise test of Dilip to know about the workers' technical knowledge. Even though the plant's Safety Officer Roy (Joy Sengupta) handles the situation ably, he's fed up of the unprofessional and unethical practices of the plant's management. And when all of his repeated warnings about the plant's hazards fall on deaf ears, he decides to resign from his job. But before leaving, he gives out some vital information about the hazards of the chemical plant to Dilip, who then passes on the information to the editor of 'Voice Of Bhopal' Motwani (Kal Penn), only to be published in his newspaper the next day. But by then, the damage is already done. A very deadly chemical named 'MIC' starts leaking from the plant into the city of Bhopal, killing thousands of innocents. When the victims flood the hospital for treatment, the head doctor (Manoj Joshi) becomes helpless because the hospital starts running short of Sodium Hypo Chloride (the only possible way to arrest the after effects from exposure to the deadly gas).

Is there any solution to arrest the effects of the deadly gas, what happens to Dilip and his family, who is responsible for this tragedy and how Warren Anderson escapes after this horrendous crime, forms the rest of the story.

This is Ravi Kumar's second film as a director (the first one being the rather forgettable HELLO GIRLS). With BHOPAL: A PRAYER FOR RAIN Kumar has indeed come a long way as a filmmaker. The problem with this film, though, is that despite having some of the most remarkable performances by almost all the actors, their characters do not develop as much as one would expect in a story like this. Maybe it was the director's call to keep the movie short and crisp, but it does hamper the film making the characters look half baked and incomplete. For any film of this intensity and genre, the only thing which will help it find audience is the quintessential emotional connect. But, in this film, it is the director who is to be blamed for this as even before the film sets in and develops an emotional connect with the audience, the tragic climax begins and the film nears its end! Though not taking away credit where due, director Ravi Kumar does manage to create an engaging world showing the life of Rajpal Yadav and his family and the hardships the workers inside the plant go through with finesse.

As far as the performances in the film are concerned, Rajpal Yadav is the main protagonist of the film and plays his part brilliantly. Rajpal is extremely convincing as a caring and lovable husband, a friend to the children (do not miss the cricket scene), a hardworking and concerned and job-fearing worker. Even though Tannishtha Chatterjee doesn't have much of a role, whatever screen time she gets she converts it to her advantage while portraying the ever-supportive wife of Rajpal Yadav. The extremely talented Martin Sheen excels in the role of Warren Anderson. He owns the character which is often confused and under tremendous amount pressure to make the plant work. Kal Penn as the newspaper editor, who is always on the hunt for stories and sources, is simply remarkable. Mischa Barton's cameo as the journalist named Eva Gasconis is superb. Fagun Thakrar as Rajpal Yadav's 'silent neighbor' is simply stunning as she conveys only with her eyes throughout the film. The intensity of her eyes speaks volumes. The rest of the cast help in carrying the film forward. Joy Sengupta and Vinit Kumar are good in their parts.

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).

On the whole, BHOPAL: A PRAYER FOR RAIN is an average film but surely a onetime watch.

Bhopal: A Prayer For Rain 2.5 Bollywood Hungama News Network 20141204

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