4 reasons to watch The Railway Men

The father of India, Mahatma Gandhi, said: “He who takes away an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.” Gandhiji was non-violent. So maybe that’s what he thought. But when the person involved in the killing of about 15,000 people fled to the government security service; What then do the ideals of forgiveness and non-violence mean?

The web series “The Railway Men” began with one such question from a journalist.

Shiv Rawail made this series on the gas leak tragedy in Bhopal, India in 1984. Starring KK Menon, R Madhavan, Sunny Hinduja, Juhi Chawla and several other upcoming artists. The four-part series was released on the OTT platform Netflix.

The railway workers
A scene from the series “The Railway Men”.

The Bhopal incident is considered the world’s worst industrial disaster. The negative impact is still felt among the elderly residents of Bhopal. The director has realistically portrayed this incident on screen. Add some drama and the series can generally be described as a “complete package”.

So if you like history, storytelling and mise-en-scène, drama and “heroism,” then this nearly four-hour series is for you. But you may not like the topic that will be discussed in the next part of the article.

According to the series’ narrative, the toxic gas released from the American factory called “Union Carbide” has caused panic throughout the city. People and livestock die because gases enter the body through the air they breathe. Nobody can find a way out of this catastrophe.

Meanwhile, some government officials met. Without adequate supplies and support from higher authorities, they managed to save thousands of lives. Among them, the main character is considered quite calm and generous. Several other characters and events of this kind create an emotional atmosphere. At the end, the title of Bravery was added to their names.

KK Menon
KK Menon played the role of the station master. Image: Netflix

Most average web series are now created using such “templates”. This makes the robbers innocent even after incidents like bank robberies (money robbery) by getting the emotional support of the audience. Such an attempt can also be felt in the series “The Railway Men”. The screenwriters focused more on portraying the heroic role of some fictional railway officials during the Bhopal tragedy. That’s why in the series, where others die in a few moments due to poisonous gas, we see the main character of the series (KK Menon) survives for a long time without a mask. As part of the previous commitment, the relatives of deceased colleagues are transported to safe havens. Although he lost consciousness in the middle, he miraculously woke up after a few hours!

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Madhavan and Juhi
R Madhavan and Juhi Chawla played the roles of senior railway officials.

The series opportunistically uses some footage from real events. In it you can see corpses on the streets of Bhopal and people crowding into hospitals. That means everyone suffered equally from the toxic gases in the air. But the railways in the series (KK Menon, Madhavan and others) seem to be the only exception. They have fighting skills and superhuman survival skills.

Hinduja
Sunny Hinduja is considered a journalist. Photo: Collected

Let’s go back to the journalist’s (Sunny Hinduja) narration of the opening scene of the series. At this point it is understood that Warren Anderson, chairman of Union Carbide and mastermind of the Bhopal tragedy, was arrested upon his arrival in India. A few hours later he was flown out of the country on a government-approved plane. At that moment, journalist Sunny Hinduja was quoting Mahatma Gandhi’s quote in the background. This reveals the disenfranchisement of the common people and the main story of the series. If you’re not aware of this, for the next four hours you’ll just be trying to make heroes out of railroad workers.

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