Bhopal: A Prayer For Rain

wogma rating: Add to 'must watch' list (?)

quick review:

Horrific real-life disaster, engaging film. And therein lies the irony of human nature.

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Director: Ravi Kumar
Running time: 95 minutes
More Movie Info

Bhopal: A Prayer For Rain (English, Hindi) - Preview

- meeta, a part of the audience

What can you say about a film made on a true-life disaster? Not a natural disaster. A disaster created more by human apathy than by greed; more by turning a blind eye to the things you can fix than keeping yourself covered; more by believing you are doing the right thing than by convincing yourself that you did your due diligence; more by shirking your responsibilities than by being unapologetic about your negligences. The incident itself was of course unfortunate, and Bhopal - A Prayer for Rain brings about the events that led up to the eventual disaster in an engaging format.

That's the problem with commenting about such films. People died and are suffering 30 years later. And how what I have to say is that the film was "engaging". What do I say? Rajpal Yadav and Tannishta Chatterjee did a wonderful job of playing Dilip, a Carbider and Leela, his wife as representatives of thousands of workers/families who died in the gas leak and its aftermath?

Sure, the camerawork created claustrophobia and not only in the climax scenes. Throughout the film there is a sense of foreboding, a feeling that you are crammed in place which you can't get out of. This comes through even in the long shots of the slum areas and the city of Bhopal in general. It is interesting indeed that director, Ravi Kumar picked a story format over making a documentary. In fact, he adds a touch of dark humor too, in the beginning.

The stories of Dilip, Leela and a few more characters which are based on real-life characters keep things as close to reality as possible. Though Warren Anderson's character seemed rather muted and ambiguous through the film. It was difficult to make out what his stand was, maybe a good shade of grey that he really was. Yet, it didn't feel complete.

But, the film gives you space to absorb. Not only the technical details - which I am sure they must've over-simplified for the sake of consumption/or because of lack of available data - but also the dynamics that go on in a real life situation. Between politicians and businessmen, between workers and superiors, across races.

As you see the Indians on-screen being enamored by anything American, you try to discount the fact that this was 30 years ago, and Indians were indeed in awe of any human with white skin. And then, you wonder. Would my blood boil less as the end credits rolled, if Union Carbide was an Indian company? Does it matter that one of the main reasons (as pointed out in the film) for the disaster was because of an Indian solution, a (jugaad of sorts? Are the senior employees, Indians included, less responsible for the gross negligence that they allowed?

And then, you wonder, so what if I get the answers to my questions. What will change? What will I do? The fact that the film made me think, is its success, of course.

As I walked out of the theater, I overheard a young girl say over her phone, "Oh I need to take a break, I just saw a very sad film." Should I then be saddened further because my cynicism was just reinforced? Or should I be happy that at least the girl came down to see this film? How does one respond to such a film? At the very least by watching it first?

~ ~ ~

ps. I saw the Hindi version of the film. I must say Martin Sheen speaking in Hindi is very distracting. But, most of the characters are Indians, so it's not that bad once you get past the dubbing.

- meeta, a part of the audience

24 reviewers(?) - 9 yays 13 so-so 2 nays

Warning: clicking on "full review" will take you to an external website that could contain spoilers.

Thumbs up, by IANS , Bollywood Life : ...“Bhopal: A Prayer For Rain” leaves us with feeling of a deep longing for the victims of the Bhopal gas tragedy, and for the victims of imperialism anywhere at any time. Come to think of it, while the victims of the tragedy in Bhopal await justice, the only good thing to come out of the tragedy is this haunting dramatic film. Not to be missed.... full review

Thumbs up, by Mohammad Murtaza Ali, Desi Martini : ...The movie is meant for serious filmgoers only;the casual viewers are advised to stay away from it.A must watch for those who admire realism.... full review

Thumbs up, by reeja Sreedharan, Desi Martini : ...A haunting and compelling portrayal of the biggest human tragedies in the world... full review

Thumbs up, by Martin D'Souza, Glamsham.com : ...A must see film for those who believe in researched film-making. This film also ensures that this worst industrial disaster which happened in India is not forgotten. ... full review

Thumbs up, by Rohit Khilnani , india today : ...Filmmaker Ravi Kumar has captured everything that this drama needed. The feel of Bhopal in the 80s, the slum life, the joy of a man who lands a job at the plant and the disaster, everything if managed well. However the quality of production could have been better. Bhopal - A Prayer for Rain is a story that needed to be told.... full review

Thumbs up, by Saibal Chatterjee, NDTV : ...Neither does the air of foreboding that hangs over segments of the film sustain itself long and strongly enough to convey the sheer magnitude of the crisis that is about to explode. has its shares of flaws and lows, but Bhopal: A Prayer for Rain is still a must-see film for the courage of its conviction, if for nothing else. ... full review

Thumbs up, by Prasanna D Zore., Rediff : ...Bhopal: A Prayer For Rain, is an honest yet haunting film. The images of those who suffered will stay with you for quite some time.... full review

Thumbs up, by ANUJ KUMAR, The Hindu : ...A fair and focused portrayal of forms human greed and desperation can take... full review

Thumbs up, by Subhash K. Jha, ZEENEWS.COM : ...Come to think of it, while the victims of the tragedy in Bhopal await justice, the only good thing to come out of the tragedy is this haunting dramatic film. Not to be missed.... full review

So-So, Bollywood Hungama : ...On the whole, BHOPAL: A PRAYER FOR RAIN is an average film but surely a onetime watch.... full review

So-So, Daily Bhaskar : ...Watch the film for some good performances by the actors, and for a decent interpretation of what might have happened on the night of disaster... full review

So-So, by Suparna Sharma, Deccan Chronicle : ...Bhopal: A Prayer for Rain tells the story of the worst of times with some needless “cinematic liberties” that make it a lesser movie, but, perhaps, a more palatable one. ... full review

So-So, by Bryan Durham, DNA : ...This film has its heart in the right place. If only it had beat a little more passionately... this cautionary chronicle would have been that much more impactful.... full review

So-So, by Mihir Fadnavis , FirstPost : ...Even with all these flaws it is difficult to fault the film’s intentions. It’s quite possible that there was a better film gestating on the cutting room floor and it got lost after constant setbacks during the half a decade long production. Perhaps we’ll see that film someday, and it would hopefully be a little less melodramatic.... full review

So-So, by Johnson Thomas, Free Press Journal : ...“Bhopal: A Prayer for Rain” sets its sights on being a historical-drama but it’s efforts to showcase the shocking events that led to the tragedy appear less than gritty and realistic- mainly because the narrative prefers to sit on the fence and the overall performances are not of a very high quality. While focusing largely on the negligence and ineptitude of the mostly inexperienced and under-qualified technical crew in the plant the film seeks to draw the ire away from the CEO’s own culpability in the matter of administrative accountability ... full review

So-So, by Nupur Barua , fullhyd.com : ...Rajpal Yadav and Tannishtha Chatterjee are subtle and effective. They are a delight to watch, especially together. Joy Sengupta looks slightly confused. Manoj Joshi is wasted, but he is very good in his role as the harrowed doctor. Lalit Tiwari deserved a lengthier role.... full review

So-So, by Sweta Kaushal, Hindustan Times : ...Sadly, this film does not offer any new insights into the tragedy. It could have been far more touching with a better research. Nonetheless, the performances and a decent screenplay make it worth a watch.... full review

So-So, by Rajeev Masand, IBN Live : ...There is a sense of drama in the final moments, in the manner that the gas leak is shot: the chaos at the general hospital, the bodies strewn in the slums, on the hospital steps, in the streets. It's commendable that the film relives the terrible tragedy of the gas leak, but sadly, it has few moments that are extraordinary or even genuinely moving... full review

So-So, by Surabhi Redkar, koimoi : ...Do not assume that it is a documentary that will bore you with an informative story. This film is a must watch if you wish to know the plight of Bhopal residents, who are still fighting for justice. It is a dose of reality for both Indians and Americans, to learn how they brought on India’s worst chemical disaster.... full review

So-So, by Sanjukta Sharma, Live Mint : ...The climactic scenes of mass hysteria and death have some powerful moments and make you wonder why we don’t remind ourselves of this tragedy more often. But apart from the provocative end, Bhopal: A Prayer For Rain is a wasted opportunity. Read more at: http://www.livemint.com/Leisure/z04N1oM9hVcLYoVwbJ6amK/Film-Review--Bhopal-A-Prayer-For-Rain.html?utm_source=copy... full review

So-So, by Shubha Shetty Saha, MiD DAY : ...What's worse is that Kumar, obviously unaware of the actual life in a city like Bhopal, gets the unlikeliest characters to speak English and that along with jerky, disturbing camera movements, kills the flow of the film.... full review

So-So, by Srijana Mitra Das,, Times of India : ...Dulal's wry take - "Dialogues acche the. Film theek thi" - works here too. This keeda could've had a much sharper bite.... full review

Thumbs down, by Anna MM Vetticad, annavetticadgoes2themovies : ...That being said, the film’s simultaneous effort to whitewash the wrongdoings of Carbide’s American bosses is repugnant to say the least. ... full review

Thumbs down, by Suhani Singh, india today : ...Inspired by real events and characters, Kumar has said that he hopes to inform the newer generation about the tragedy. Unfortunately, this is not the film that does justice to it.... full review

33 tweeters(?) - 31 yays 1 so-so 1 nays

_mindian: Movie review Bhopal A Prayer for Rain is mature watch it for the subject http://t.co/Cs7EIcAs4q

_hajmie: Bhopal: A Prayer for Rain Movie Review: Bhopal: A Prayer for Rain is still a must-see film for the courage of its conviction

Yash_Agarwal97: Morning Tweeps!!Go..Nd Give 'Bhopal:A Prayer For Rain' A Watch..A Really Intriguing Film With Brilliant Performances By The Characters!

Writweeter: Bhopal: A Prayer for Rain is both truthful and haunting. Kudos to @ravisky for making such an honest film.

VIVECKVASWANI: Bhopal a prayer for rain! must watch! rajpal yadav and Martin sheen and Tannishtha brilliant. you will weep!

vishnu_vst: In mood to watch movie? Try to catch "Bhopal: A Prayer for Rain". Will be eye opener if you haven't heard much about Bhopal gas tragedy

TheSandaClaus: #Bhopal a prayer for rain is an epic movie. Please go for this movie rather than a movie like Action Jackson. It deserves recognition.

shivascreation: Bhopal: a prayer for rain...... 4 out of 5. This is one the best films of the year and is probably the best... https://www.facebook.com/shibashis.das.9/posts/10152508219492361

Saqibsaleem: Go watch bhopal-a prayer for rain .. A well made film!! Many congratulations @kalpenn

SandalBurn: Saw Bhopal A Prayer For Rain. Nice movie. The second half is powerful.

rudresh2887: BHOPAL a prayer for rain lovely movie must watch Rajpal acting superb

Rishabh_Punia: Bhopal a prayer for rain - Really, REALLY amazing movie. Hard hitting. A movie any person must watch.

rajathdm: Great Movie! Bhopal - A Prayer for Rain.

pankhudigadge: Must watch “Bhopal a prayer for rain”amazing movie to know d reality of Bhopal tragedy in 1984..

MovieHancho: Bhopal: A Prayer For Rain Movie Review- Disturbing And Hard-Hitting, Not To Be Missed: Disasters, man-made or ... http://t.co/dDoS1Tfkeh

MeghnaDave: Watched Bhopal:a prayer for rain, another example of guilt free crime.When legal, politics & corporate gets embraced for tragedy #jugaad

mantagoyal: Bhopal a prayer for rain - mature n sensitive film. Cinema that awakens us and mks us stand up n tk notice of reality must be supported

madhukarpandey: Bhopal: A Prayer for Rain is not a movie to be missed. Check out more on the page. https://www.facebook.com/reachmadhukarpandey/posts/10204625536892376

KamathGurudutt: BHOPAL: A PRAYER FOR RAIN: Good movie with good scripting, photography, direction and acting. 3/5 stars. Worth a watch.

iemBB: #Bhopal #GasTragedy Watch Bhopal: A Prayer for Rain - It'll shake you. This movie is a terrific tale of the... https://www.facebook.com/bbt.mech/posts/863097950401546

hemant_delhi: watched "Bhopal: A prayer for rain" today. A very sensitive movie on a very intense subject. Must watch!!

harshitsharma3: BHOPAL: A Prayer for Rain must watch movie.. World's Biggest industrial dissaster is on silver screen. #ISupportBHOPAL

floydimus: Please go watch the brilliant movie "Bhopal — A Prayer For Rain" made on the macabre gas tragedy that haunts the city.

djdixit3: #Bhopal A Prayer for Rain, What an extraordinary movie... Thumbs up! #Movie

DipenTanti1: Watched Bhopal A Prayer for Rain!! What an amazing movie Must Watch #RealityDepicted @APrayerForRain http://twitter.com/DipenTanti1/status/540836504650543105/photo/1

chinmayogale: Bhopal - A Prayer For Rain.. Moving, emotional film. Don't miss it. @APrayerForRain #Bhopal

boogerworm: If there is 1 movie you watch this weekend please let it be Bhopal : A Prayer for Rain #fb

BhopaliLad: Would strongly recco Bhopal: A prayer for rain. There's so much that the world needs to know about this tragedy and the plight of victims.

ashishkate: Saw "Bhopal: A prayer for rain" last night. Can't say I can watch it twice. But one must watch it at least once. Goes to show what happened.

aparna1420: Bhopal - a prayer for rain, good cinema indeed.

amber_mowgli: A Must Watch ,,, Bhopal: a prayer for rain https://www.facebook.com/amber.sharma.mowgli/posts/10204539584182526

Mohansinha: Bhopal A prayer for rain left me with a feeling of an unfinished tale. Too much of Penn, Sheen & Barton and too little of events after leak

TheDewFactor: Bhopal: A prayer for rain - A sad attempt to narrate the disaster. Half cooked, without focus. Would have appreciated a documentary instead.

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This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: No physical fights. But people are dying because of a gas leak
  • Language: clean
  • Nudity & Sexual content: none
  • Concept: The story of Union Carbide's gas leak.
  • General Look and Feel: Grim and dusty.

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

Direction:
Lead Actors:
Character Artists:
Dialogues:
Screenplay:

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