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The Railway Men

STORY: Inspired by true events, this four-episode series is backdropped on the 1984 Bhopal gas leak tragedy and celebrates the ‘unsung heroes’ of the Indian Railways who rose to the occasion and saved hundreds of lives.

REVIEW: Director Shiv Rawail and co-writer Aayush Gupta have skillfully crafted a gripping narrative in their debut series, ‘The Railway Men,’ delving into the harrowing events surrounding the 1984 Bhopal gas leak tragedy. The story, centered on the lethal methyl isocyanate (MIC) leak from the Union Carbide factory, unfolds as a compelling account of human tragedy and the unsung heroes of the Indian Railways who risked their lives in the face of an unspeakable disaster.

At the heart of the tale is Iftekaar Siddiqui (Kay Kay Menon), the dedicated station master of Bhopal Junction, who becomes the linchpin in the rescue efforts on that fateful night of December 2, 1984.

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Unexpectedly, a thug known as Express Bandit (Divyenndu) enters the scene, originally intending to exploit the chaos for personal gain but ultimately contributing to the rescue mission. The newly joined locomotive pilot Imaad (Babil Khan) and Central Railways GM Rati Pandey (R Madhavan) join forces with these railway men to evacuate thousands of residents via railway amid escalating chaos and obstacles.

As the minutes tick by, the gravity of the situation intensifies, with the series keeping viewers on the edge of their seats, questioning whether the railwaymen will succeed in their mission. Parallelly, journalist Jagmohan Kumawat (Sunny Hinduja) takes on a crusade against the American corporation through his newspaper, warning locals about the impending danger. Despite his efforts, scepticism and attempts to silence him add another layer of tension to the unfolding disaster.

The four hourly episodes provide a spine-chilling experience, vividly depicting the horrifying consequences of the gas leak. The close-up shots capturing the instantaneous deaths and the haunting images of poison emanating from people’s mouths leave a lasting emotional impact. The realistic portrayal of the after-effects of the gas leak adds another layer of depth to the narrative.

R Madhavan and Kay Kay Menon deliver powerful performances, infusing their characters with heart and making them relatable. Divyenndu’s portrayal adds a touch of intensity, accompanied by clever one-liners. Babil Khan performs flawlessly, especially in emotional passages. Even he impressively adopts the Bhopali accent, and Juhi Chawla makes a notable impact in her limited screen time.

‘The Railway Men’ not only serves as an eye-opener to the tragic events of 1984 but also sheds light on the moral corruption within the political landscape. Despite being based on true incidents, the series avoids a documentary-style approach, successfully forging an emotional connection with the viewers. It stands as a tribute to the courage of those who faced adversity and a stark reminder that, even in the face of calamity, some societal issues remain unchanged.

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