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BHOPAL EXPRESS Below ExpectationsEdit

Tushar K Shukla

Having heard so much about this underground movie, of the likes of Black Friday, Paanch and many others which are critically acclaimed for the very reason that hardly anyone has heard about them and this makes the movies worth a watch, I was looking forward to Bhopal Express. There were many reasons, the utmost was the director, Mahesh Mathai, who has directed few Lucky Ali videos, in which I kinda liked his imaginative work. I understand that when you make a movie on a factual event, you have to weave a fictional story around the actual event to make it cinematically presentable, but I would have preferred if the unnecessary love angle was done away with. Nethra Raghuraman looks like she has come straight down from Harvards to essay the role of a stereotypical Indian housewife, as if David Lynch was enough inspiration for her to do this. I am not saying that this is a badly made movie, but just that it is very predictable. There is so much that could have been done to the amazing plot line. Instead of wasting some 30 minutes of on-screen time in useless sequences of Bashir miyan drooling over ZohraBai, they could have shown a different perspective of the Bhopal disaster. Public memory might be short, but Bhopal is something we remember very well, just like Russians can never forget Chernobyl. When the sequence of the gas eruption started, I thought now it will get to a sensible track at least, but it follows the Bollywood tested path of gathering sympathy for the death of a lead character, which was Naseer in this case. Surprisingly, even Naseer hams in this one. And you can trust KK to act in such scenes where a high emotional adrenaline is required, he is no different or unimaginable in his portrayal. Also though the time period has some good detailing, there is a surprising ambiguity in the character development. I did not understand what was the perspective of the director- was he trying to show us why Bhopal happened, or is he lamenting over it being a systemic failure, or is he just trying to cash in on the sad memories of people who lost their near one sin the tragedy? I would have preferred an interspersing of factual details and interviews, that means a documentary could have been better than this weirdly titled movie. Disappointed.

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