Cast: Kay Kay Menon, Babil, Divyendu Sharma, R. Madhavan, Sunny Hinduja, Raghubir Yadav, Mandira Bedi, Juhi Chawla
Director: Shiv Rawail
Writers: Aayush Gupta, Shiv Rawail
Streaming On: Netflix
Runtime: 55-65 Minutes (4 Episodes)
The Railway Men Review: What’s It About:
The story revolves around the Bhopal Gas Tragedy, mainly about the involvement of Indian Railways in aiding the people who had no hope whether they’ll be able to see the sun the next day. How ‘The Railway Men’ in Bhopal Junction’s station master Iftekaar Siddiqui (Kay Kay Menon), his recently hired apprentice Imad Riaz (Babil Khan) & a thief who’s Infamously called Express Bandit (Divyendu Sharma) for looting railway stations/trains (is in the disguise of Railway Protection Force officer) come together to execute the most helpless evacuation plan to minimize the disaster that could’ve vanished the entire population of the city.
The central narration pans through the few hours before the gas leak and the night (December 2, 1984) following the tragedy. Kamruddin (Dibyendu Bhattacharya) plays the role of Union Carbide’s manager, the chemical plant responsible for spewing highly toxic methyl isocyanate (MIC) into the air owing to the malfunction that occurred due to its poor infrastructure, which is a result of the company being a ‘loss-making’ venture for its owners in the US. The revolutionary yet inconsequential reporter Kumawat (Sunny Hinduja) wants to print the truth with accurate facts, so he tries throughout to get his hands on the evidence. It’s about how some gallant Railway Men decided to do their duty as the death screamed out loud over Bhopal.
The Railway Men Review: What Works:
Aayush Gupta’s screenplay, coupled with Rajat Poddar’s gloomy production design, transports you right in between the scene of the tragedy. It manages to suffocate you along with the characters in the show, and that’s the thing that gives it a Chernobyl-esque treatment. The first three episodes end with a montage where all the characters currently in the story are, which helps to register after there’s a downpour of too many of them.
Usually, shows like this come with the burden of being ‘slow burn.’ Still, on the contrary, this one sets everything ablaze so fast that in just under four hours, it portrays the unheard-of efforts of the Railway Men to rescue lives, touches the 1984 anti-Sikh riots just enough to infuse solid tension, reflects the politics played to justify the unfortunate tragedy, showcases the personal demons these characters faced pre & post the accident a lot more.
Nope, it doesn’t entirely shift its focus from the highlight of The Railway Men turning superheroes for the general public, treating that as an anchor to everything happening around it. This begins YRF‘s journey to the world of OTT with Netflix and if this is what they can offer with their first project, I’m more excited about this stint than the spy universe.
The Railway Men Review: Star Performance:
Petition to change the ‘K K’ in Kay Kay Menon to Kicka** King, aka the king who kicks a**es when it comes to performing anything with anyone. How he assists Babil in their scenes together speaks volumes about him as an actor.
There’s no reason why you won’t miss Irrfan upon seeing Babil act, and this guy is already a gem. Qala cemented the thought of him being a good actor & this one just solidifies the same. Same eyes and expressions, and he reminds you of Irrfan even when you want to judge him as an individual. It’s not bad; it’s just sad. Full marks for Babil’s dialect coach for making him master his character’s accent.
Divyendu Sharma finally gets something out of Mirzapur that does justice to the talent he possesses. He keeps the quirk alive throughout his performance, making it easy to connect. R. Madhavan & Sunny Hinduja, in their respective special appearance roles, serve just the right amount of thrills and emotions. Maddy gets an inspiring, well-written monologue, which results in an exaggerated scene, but that’s fine. Juhi Chawla, as Chief of Personnel, is subtle.
The Railway Men Review: What Doesn’t Work:
Because it wraps up everything in just four episodes, certain sub-plots come across as half-baked, leaving your desire to know more of them unfulfilled. They’re not necessarily stuffed; they’re just incomplete in some sense, leaving an ambiguous gap in your mind. I’ve no problem with the bleak color-grading of such shows, but then there should be a considerable difference between dark & dull.
The Railway Men Review: Last Words:
All said and done, the makers recreate scenes around the original photographs which were taken during the tragedy, and that shows just the right amount of passion and research a team needs to not only bring a harrowing accident on screen but also present it in a way that it creates a permanent tension throughout its runtime.
Must Read: Aarya Season 3 (Part 1) Review: Sushmita Sen Is A Wounded Tigress ‘Hunting The Hunters’ To Protect Her Cubs Making All The Wrong Choices In A Fast Paced Drama (Paused At A High)!
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