The Railway Men: The Untold Story of Bhopal 1984
The Railway Men: The Untold Story of Bhopal 1984 is a historical drama streaming miniseries in Hindi, released on Netflix on November 18, 2023. It highlights the heroic efforts of railway workers during the 1984 Bhopal disaster. Produced by YRF Entertainment and featuring R. Madhavan, Kay Kay Menon, Divyenndu, and Babil Khan, the series was filmed from December 2021 to May 2022.
Story of the railway men
The premise of The Railway Men centers around the courageous actions of railway workers who rescued numerous individuals during the 1984 gas tragedy at Union Carbide India Limited’s plant in Bhopal.
Cast of the series “The Railway Men”
The cast of the series “The Railway Men” includes:
- R. Madhavan as Rati Pandey, the general manager of the West Central Railway zone of the Indian railways.
- Kay Kay Menon as Iftekaar Siddiqui, the station master of the Bhopal Junction railway station.
- Divyenndu as Balwant Yadav, a dacoit.
- Babil Khan as Imad Riaz, an inexperienced loco pilot.
- Sunny Hinduja as Jagmohan Kumawat, a journalist.
- Juhi Chawla Mehta as Rajeshwari Janglay, a principled Railways Ministry bureaucrat.
- Dibyendu Bhattacharya as Kamruddin, a manager at Union Carbide.
- Denzil Smith as the railway minister.
- Philip Rosch as Madsen, the American head of the plant.
- Raghubir Yadav as a train guard.
- Mandira Bedi as Rajbir Kaur, a Sikh woman.
- Connor Keene as Alex Braun, a German scientist.
- Sunita Rajwar as Vijaya, a cleaning woman.
- Manish Wadhwa as Mirza.
- Shrikant Verma as Ishwar Prasad.
- Nivedita Bhargava as Imad’s mother.
- Annapurna Soni as Shazia, Ansari’s widow.
- Bhumika Dube as Nafisa, Kamruddin’s wife.
- Thanu Khan as Markhand.
- Aditya Shukla as Ratlu.
- Priya Yadav as Sohini, Vijaya’s daughter.
The Railway Men, All Episodes
“The Railway Men” is a gripping series that showcases both the heroism and tragedy that unfolded during one of India’s most devastating industrial disasters. Through compelling storytelling and remarkable performances, it sheds light on the resilience of individuals in the face of unimaginable adversity. The series, season 1, has a total of 4 episodes.
Episode 1: A Deadly Revelation
In the first episode of “The Railway Men,” we are introduced to the employees of Union Carbide India Limited, who work under negligible safety protocols. Imad Riaz, a former employee, bravely speaks out about the death of his friend at the plant due to toxic gas inhalation. Despite his complaints, the management takes no action and fires him. Kamruddin, a manager at the plant, also reveals the lack of safety measures to a journalist named Kumawat.
Meanwhile, we meet Iftekaar Siddiqui, an idealistic station master at Bhopal Junction railway station. His life takes an unexpected turn when a dacoit named Balwant Yadav disguises himself as a cop and enters the station. Little do they know that their paths will soon intersect in the face of a devastating tragedy.
Episode 2: Chaos Unleashed
As the highly toxic gas begins to leak from the plant into the densely populated city of Bhopal, panic ensues. People collapse in the streets, and many lose their lives. Amidst the chaos, Iftekhar and Balwant initially struggle to comprehend the situation. However, they soon realized that people who were indoors remained unharmed.
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In an attempt to save lives, Iftekaar and Balwant gather the crowds into the station waiting room. Unfortunately, communication systems are down due to incomplete cable repair work, leaving Iftekaar unable to warn nearby stations. Imad, now working as a loco pilot, becomes aware of the gas leak and rushes to the station to alert Iftekaar. Meanwhile, Rati Pandey, a general manager for the Indian Railways, becomes aware of the unfolding disaster at a nearby station.
Episode 3: Brave Hearts Unite
Rati Pandey takes it upon herself to persuade Railway Minister Rajeshwari Janglay to send help to the stranded people in Bhopal. However, her pleas fall on deaf ears as her superiors neglect the urgency of the situation. Undeterred, Rajeshwari entrusts Rati to defy orders and assist the affected people.
Rati rallies several railway workers to join her cause, and together they set off towards Bhopal. Meanwhile, Iftekaar, Imad, and Balwant find their own ways to rescue those trapped at the station by organizing their evacuation onto a goods train. While their efforts are commendable, they face numerous challenges along the way.
Episode 4: Triumphs and Tragedies
In a race against time, a train carrying 1000 passengers heads towards Bhopal Junction without any warning about the gas leak. The train faces delays due to anti-Sikh rioters, adding to the urgency of the situation. Meanwhile, Rati and her team make their way towards the junction to provide assistance.
Iftekaar and Imad manage to find a way to avoid a collision with the oncoming train, but tragically, Imad succumbs to gas inhalation. Iftekaar’s fate also hangs in the balance as he seemingly meets his end. Balwant, driven by greed, seizes an opportunity to steal money from the station vault. However, unexpected twists occur as Rati helps survivors with essential medical supplies and reveals her marital connection with Rajeshwari.
As rescue efforts continue and Kumawat documents the disaster through photographs, the long-lasting effects of the Bhopal tragedy become evident. The series concludes with glimpses into the future, where Iftekaar miraculously survives, Balwant experiences a change of heart, and Kumawat witnesses the ongoing impact of the catastrophe on Bhopal.
Production of The Railway Men
“The Railway Men” is a gripping Indian drama series that marked the directorial debut of Shiv Rawail, who previously worked as an assistant director at Yash Raj Films. The series was produced by YRF Entertainment, a subdivision of Yash Raj Films.
Filming of The Railway Men
The filming of “The Railway Men” began on December 1, 2021, and wrapped on May 11, 2022.
Release Date of The Railway Men Netflix Series
“The Railway Men” was scheduled to release on Netflix on 18 November 2023. However, two former employees of Union Carbide India Limited, who were convicted in the gas leak case, filed a plea to prevent the release of the show. The Bombay High Court rejected their case, and the series was released on the scheduled date.
Reviews of The Railway Men Netflix Series
Critics have lauded “The Railway Men” for its compelling storytelling and excellent performances. Nandini Ramnath of Scroll.in praised the production design by Rajat Poddar for its remarkably faithful recreations of the era. Sonil Dedhia of News18 considered it a passionate, emotionally resonant, and incredibly moving tale of underappreciated heroes. Mayur Sanap of Rediff.com commended Rawail for handling the tragic event with seriousness and respect without going overboard with the dramatic impact.
Shubhra Gupta of The Indian Express deemed it a worthy effort that brings back an expansive, old-fashioned style of storytelling to a still-relevant event. She particularly praised the performances of Kay Kay Menon and Babil Khan. Zinia Bandyopadhyay of India Today considered Khan to be the real star of the show. Saibal Chatterjee of NDTV opined that “The Railway Men” is buoyed by a clutch of laudable performances and storytelling that does not slide below a certain level of competence. Still, it could have been much more.
However, Santanu Das of Hindustan Times believed that the series’ handling of the tragedy was not at par with the handling of the Chernobyl disaster by the 2019 HBO miniseries Chernobyl.