Bhopali is a feature documentary about the survivors of the world’s worst industrial disaster, the 1984 Union Carbide gas leak in Bhopal, India that killed almost 15,000 people. Today the suffering continues, with contaminated water and contaminants leaching from the factory and its holding ponds that were never cleaned up or remediated, prompting victims to fight for justice against Union Carbide, (now owned by Dow Chemical) the American corporation responsible for the disaster.
I had the pleasure of interviewing the director of Bhopali Max Carlson, so I watched an advance copy of the film before it went on to win multiple awards. My expectations were somewhat low and I was blown out of the water. Bhopali is well crafted, eminently watchable, thoroughly researched and deeply disturbing. The film does an excellent job portraying the lives of people who were victimized by the Bhopal gas leak and follows their lives today. I found myself rooting for so many of the people in the film, whether they were trying to save their beautiful baby, improve the lives of the children with severe birth defects, or fight Dow Chemical and the Indian Government. The film explores the history of Bhopal and how it happened and continues through the present day where the people of Bhopal have almost no access to safe drinking water and live in the shadow of the Union Carbide plant that was never remediated or dismantled. It discusses how the Indian government settled with Union Carbide for very little money and now considers the case closed, despite the ongoing contamination of soil, groundwater and drinking water. Bhopali is a groundbreaking, critically important film about the human toll of industrial accidents. There are parts of it that are heartbreaking and parts that are so uplifting – make sure you have tissues handy.
Overall Score (1 to 5): ***** 5 stars
Link to Trailer: http://www.bhopalithemovie.com/trailer/
Link to Website: http://www.bhopalithemovie.com
Where to Watch: Netflix or many screenings around the country, check the website for the schedule