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Bhopal gas tragedy: The Railway Men and 6 other films and shows that captured the disaster onscreen

Numerous filmmakers have been influenced by the Bhopal gas tragedy. We've compiled a list of the on-screen films and shows based on one of the biggest industrial disasters in history.

Bhopal gas tragedy: The Railway Men and 6 other films and shows that captured the disaster onscreen
Films that showed Bhopal gas tragedy

Last Updated: 11.47 PM, Nov 21, 2023


One of the biggest industrial disasters in history took place on the evening of December 2, 1984, at a Union Carbide Company factory in Bhopal, the capital city of Madhya Pradesh. This is known as the infamous Bhopal gas tragedy. According to government data from Madhya Pradesh, it caused over 3 lakh injuries and 3,800 deaths. However, media accounts place the death toll at fifteen thousand.

The catastrophe has served as an inspiration for many filmmakers. Check out a list of films and shows based on one of the biggest industrial disasters in history:

1. The Railway Men

R Madhavan, Kay Kay Menon, Divyenndu, and Babil Khan feature in the series. The show explores the devastating aftermath of the 1984 Bhopal Gas Disaster, in which over 5 lakh people were exposed to poisonous gas. The narrative revolves around ignored railroad workers who, in the midst of the worst industrial catastrophe on record, came to the rescue.

2. Bhopal: A Prayer for Rain

On December 5, 2014, Ravi Kumar's film saw its release in India. In addition to Bollywood actors Raajpal Yadav and Tannishtha Chatterjee, Hollywood stars Martin Sheen, Mischa Barton, and Indian American actor Kal Penn also feature in the film. The story follows the events leading up to the industrial disaster as they relate to the life of Raajpal Yadav, a rickshaw puller who gets a job at the Union Carbide plant.

3. One Night in Bhopal

The movie, which is far from fiction, narrates the catastrophe from the perspectives of individuals who were there. The circumstances that led to the catastrophe, dread, and terror in the early hours of December 3, 1984, are depicted in the 2004 BBC documentary.

4. Bhopali

If the tragic events served as motivation for the filmmakers, some also concentrated on the lives of the victims. One such filmmaker is Van Maximilian Carlson, who told the story of the industrial accident survivors in his documentary 'Bhopali'. It portrays their anguish and their struggle for justice against the American company Union Carbide, which caused the disaster. The 2011 movie offers a contemporary portrayal of the broken lives of those who live close to the closed Union Carbide plant.

5. Bhopal Express

Mahesh Mathai's 1999 film is a compelling drama about a newlywed couple whose lives are altered by the deadly Bhopal gas tragedy. Starring in the film are notable actors such as Naseeruddin Shah, Zeenat Aman, Nethra Raghuraman, and Kay Kay Menon.

6. The Family Man

While the Manoj Bajpayee starrer The Family Man does not completely discuss the tragic incident throughout the show, the end of Season 1 shows some references to the Bhopal Gas Tragedy. 

7. Jawan

This terrible incident is discussed twice in the Shah Rukh Khan starrer movie, with a focus on the ongoing moral, legal, and medical ramifications. The films show different real-life incidents and one of them was the Bhopal Gas Tragedy. It sends a clear message to large corporations and acts as a reminder of the need for cleaner industrial practises.

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