The recently released “The Railway Men” on Netflix brings to light the real-life tragedy of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy, featuring stellar performances by Kay Kay Menon, R Madhavan, and Babil Khan. While the film is commendable for shedding light on the catastrophic event, it falls short in delivering a compelling narrative.
The series, divided into four episodes, attempts to dramatize the haunting Bhopal Gas Tragedy of 1984. Despite the committed performances and meticulous production design, the impact fades away too soon. The challenge of balancing the grim reality with dramatization seems to be a stumbling block for director Shiv Rawail.
The narrative unfolds through the lens of a reporter (Sunny Hunduja) exposing a corrupt system shielding wrongdoers. The lack of subtlety and nuance becomes evident early on, detracting from the gravity of the story. As the gas leak looms, characters with exhaustive backgrounds are introduced, such as station master Iftekaar Siddiqui (Kay Kay Menon) and the principled Imad (Babil Khan).
R Madhavan and Juhi Chawla enter the narrative, each contributing to the multifaceted storytelling. However, an overcrowded template with numerous characters and subplots dilutes the impact of the gas leak aftermath. The tension fails to build, and thinly written characters contribute little to the unfolding tragedy.
The series introduces unnecessary distractions, such as subplots revolving around a disrupted wedding night and German scientists debating experimental dangers, detracting from the core narrative. While the influence of HBO’s “Chernobyl” is apparent, “The Railway Men” struggles to interrogate the gut-wrenching terror beneath the surface.
“The Railway Men” falls short in fully exploring the depths of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy. The series, despite its commitment to the subject, tends to veer towards sensationalism and misses the opportunity to delve into the profound human impact and lingering horror buried beneath the truths of this tragic event.