When Game of Thrones came to its polarising and high-voltage conclusion a few weeks ago, most of us felt a void that would (apparently, at that time) never be filled. Enter: Chernobyl.
Craig Mazin’s five-part miniseries has captivated its audience by reliving arguably the deadliest nuclear tragedy in all of human history. Impressing the audience with its period detailing and a near documentary approach, Chernobyl‘s success has spun conversation about whether a similar show could be made to chronicle the Bhopal Gas Tragedy.
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
Bilal Maqsood, author of Bard of Blood which is being adapted into a Netflix show starring Emraan Hashmi, half-jokingly tweeted out this thought and there’s some definite… potential. Taking place two years before Chernobyl, the city of Bhopal witnessed a pesticide plant (owned by Union Carbide) leaking a highly toxic gas called methyl isocyanate. An estimated 500,000 people were affected by the leak, altering the fate of an entire generation.
In an age, where we’ve seen a fascinatingly detailed police procedural around the Nirbhaya case (Richie Mehta’s Delhi Crime), a show that investigates the cause of the leak, the chaos it ensued, and the irreversible damage it caused, is obviously fascinating material for a web series.
Ad filmmaker Mahesh Mathai made Bhopal Express (1999) that was set against the gas leak, however, it was far from a definitive documentation of what is widely regarded as the world’s worst industrial disaster. Another attempt was made in Ravi Kumar’s Bhopal: A Prayer For Rain (2014), where Martin Sheen played the role of Union Carbide’s CEO Warren Anderson. With many web platforms available today and minus the pressure of delivering an opening weekend box office for a (seemingly) expensive show, could mean a handpicked cast.
HBO’s Chernobyl, starring Stellan Skarsgard, Jared Harris and Emily Watson among others, has opened to glowing reviews. The acclaim has been so widespread that it even overtaken all-time greats like Game Of Thrones and Breaking Bad to become the highest rated show on IMDB. A show buried in facts around the Bhopal Gas Tragedy could witness something similar.