The HBO and Sky drama series Chernobyl has ignited discussions about the need for a similar series covering the Bhopal disaster in India, which took place a few years before the Chernobyl disaster, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. The Bhopal accident occurred on December 2, 1984, when a pesticide plant owned by Union Carbide (an American company which merged with Dow Chemicals in 2001) released 30 tons of toxic gas affecting 600,000 people, and with a final death toll of at least 15,000. Warren Anderson, the company’s CEO was charged with manslaughter and arrested in Bhopal 4 days after the disaster. Anderson posted bail and left the country, never returning for his trial, thus prompting conspiracy theories about government corruption.
In India, the viewers of Chernobyl have found similarities between the Chernobyl and the Bhopal disasters, since the manmade disasters appeared to be the result of indifference and mismanagement at the government level.
Author and screenwriter Bilal Siddiqi, whose novel The Bard of Blood is being adapted to the upcoming Netflix series produced by Red Chillies Entertainment, Shah Rukh Khan’s production banner, tweeted “I reckon writers, directors, and producers in India are already Googling ‘Bhopal Gas Tragedy’ after seeing the great reviews #Chernobyl is receiving.”
I reckon writers, directors and producers in India are already Googling ‘Bhopal Gas Tragedy’ after seeing the great reviews #Chernobyl is receiving. 🤦🏻♂️
— Bilal Siddiqi (@BilalS158) June 6, 2019
According to the U.K.-based author and TV personality Meera Syal (BBC’s Goodness Gracious Me), Chernobyl is a “fiercely intelligent exposition of the human cost of state censorship” and she “would love to see similar expose of the 1984 Bhopal Gas Tragedy — half a million victims, mostly poor, mostly forgotten.”
When Twitter personality Gabbar Singh, asked his followers “which writer-director duo from India do you think can do justice?” They suggested director Anurag Kashyap (Sacred Games, Gangs of Wasseypur). Kashyap has praised Chernobyl saying: “by far the best show I have seen … it just puts all theories to rest as in what makes a great show. “Chernobyl creator and writer Craig Mazin thanked him on Twitter. Online users also suggested Indian creator and filmmaker Rahul Dholakia (Parzania) and director Vivek Agnihotri (The Tashkent Files) as possible Indian creators.
I hope HBO pays heed to make a series about the Bhopal Gas Tragedy. With no Cong govt in the center (but sadly in the state) hope the real story can come out.
If at all, which writer-director duo from India do you think can do justice?
— Gabbbar (@GabbbarSingh) June 4, 2019
“Chernobyl” is by far the best show I have seen .. it just puts all theories to rest as in What makes a great show.. next up Fosse/Verdon . Also on Hotstar
— Anurag Kashyap (@anuragkashyap72) June 3, 2019
Craig Mazin and Anurag Kashyap. Genius galore. https://t.co/RPLLkE0nZG
— Murtaza | مرتضٰی (@101Murtaza) June 4, 2019
Mazin told The Hollywood Reporter that many viewers from India have asked him on Twitter to do a story on the Bhopal disaster, but he replied “that’s something that I would encourage somebody else to tell, because I just don’t want people to think, like, ‘Oh, he’s just trying to play his hits.’ You have to write a new song! I know the next thing I’m going to do is something that is about now, and is about here, in the United States, and for better or for worse, I’ll approach it with the same insistence on truth over narrative.”
Films that have previously covered the Bhopal disaster include Bhopal Express by Mahesh Mathai (1999) and Bhopal: A Prayer for Rain (2014) by Ravi Kumar, which according to The Hollywood Reporter “Arriving three decades after the fact, this docudrama doesn’t quite do justice to its important subject.”