In theatres from director/writer Ravi Kumar and Sahara Movie Studios and Rising Star Entertainment comes a tale that needs telling about BHOPAL: A Prayer for Rain.
It is 1983 in Bhopal India and Union Carbide has opened a chemical plant giving many of the townspeople jobs. Dilip (Rajpal Yadav) is a rickshaw driver who goes to the plants gate every morning to find work to feed his family. Finally called into the planet do clean, Dilip feels a sense of accomplishment and pride bringing home food to wife Leela (Tannishtha Chatterjee).
But there are rumors circulating about the planet as machines break down and workers are showing signs of being poisoned. A local paper, run by Motwani (Kal Penn), tries to tell the story but no one believes him. Recruiting help from American journalist Eva Gascon (Mischa Barton) they confront plant owner Warren Anderson (Martin Sheen).
Cover ups and paid off government officials like the Chief Minister (Satish Kaushik) are part of the ticking time bomb that are responsible for one of the tragic disasters that affect people still today.
FINAL WORD: Yadav as Dilip steals this film! His performance is believable and absolutely heart breaking. He does what he must do to feed his family and provide for their lives yet does so with a glad heart. His life is so difficult but Yadav plays Dilip with a humble sense about him. There wasn’t a moment in the film where I wasn’t rooting for him. Performing in roles since 1999, BHOPAL is a film where Yadav carries the heart of this project. His performance is stellar.
Penn as Motwani wastes no time in suiting up in the nightmare fashions of the 80’s with his polyester pants and horrible wide collared print shirt. Being the cool paper man, Penn’s character wants to be taken seriously but that proves difficult when no one is talking. His scenes with Yadav are just amazing, so keep your eyes peeled for it. I have been a Penn fan since, oh forever! My first introduction to Penn is the 2002 VAN WILDER: Party Liaison and, of course, the 2004 now cult classic HAROLD & KUMAR GO TO WHITE CASTLE.
Barton as the journalist Eva is a small role but definitely one that gets the ball rolling deeper into the story. Chatterjee as Leela, like Dilip, wants the very best for the family and Chatterjee is really lovely character to bring balance to the couple.
Sheen as Anderson jumps into the story and gives the employees of the Bhopal plant quick guidance. Toting himself as a career Union Carbide man keeps the workers happy – well the ones that understood him anyway. When the accident happens it is Sheen’s reaction that has me so floored!
Other cast include: Lisa Dwan as Marika, Manoj Joshi as Dr. Chandra, Fagun Thakrar as Rekha, Martin Brambach as Ted, Venk Modur as Dr. Khan, David Brooks as Shane, Akhil Mishra as Napoleon, Joy Sengupta as Roy.
TUBS OF POPCORN: I give BHOPAL: A Pray for Rain four tubs of popcorn out of five. This is a no holds barred look at a tragedy most do not even know happened. Director Kumar tells the story as it needed to be. These are people and families that were torn apart by a company who, to this day, refuses to apologize for what happened.
I’m sure it is easier for a company such as this to feel that since it is not in the United States, most people won’t even know about it. So a big congratulations to director/writer Kumar for enlightening a world that needed to know what happened in Bhopal.
In the end – greed kills!