Netflix Series Review: ‘The Railway Men’ Chronicles Courage in Bhopal Disaster

Shiv Rawail's Gripping Series Depicts Civilian Heroism Amidst the Shadows of the 1984 Gas Leak Disaster

Shiv Rawail’s debut series, featuring Kay Kay Menon, R Madhavan, and others, presents a compelling tale of civilian strength during the 1984 Bhopal gas leak disaster.

The Railway Men” unfolds against the backdrop of the 1984 Bhopal gas leak. Delving into a catastrophic event that claimed over 15,000 lives. Directed by Shiv Rawail, the series embarks on an engaging narrative. Depicting the aftermath and the courage displayed by civilians in the face of adversity.


The Film commences with the immediate aftermath of the tragedy, and the series opens with a brief. It captures the detention and swift departure of Union Carbide chairman Warren Anderson. The journalist, portrayed by Sunny Hinduja, introspects on Gandhi’s ideals of forgiveness and non-violence, juxtaposed against a system where wrongdoers often escape justice.

Director’s Approach:

Shiv Rawail, in his directorial debut at YRF Entertainment, strategically begins with this powerful scene. It acknowledges the prevailing public anger over Bhopal. The series, inspired by the acclaimed “Chernobyl,” reconstructs the grim historical event through the lens of Indian Railways employees involved in a daring rescue mission after a toxic gas leak.

Character Dynamics:

The narrative centers around Iftekaar Siddiqui (Kay Kay Menon), the moral stationmaster haunted by past trauma. As chaos ensues, he collaborates with characters like Balwant (Divyenndu Sharma), posing as a Railway Police Force constable. The other character, Imad (Babil Khan), is a young recruit. R Madhavan enters as Rati Pandey, the idiosyncratic General Manager, adding layers to the unfolding crisis.

Historical Context:

The series skillfully intertwines the selfless efforts of railway personnel with the greed and negligence that led to the Bhopal disaster. It sheds light on safety lapses at the Union Carbide factory. And the questionable decision to operate a hazardous plant in a densely populated area.

Contemporary Reflections:

Set against the backdrop of Indira Gandhi’s assassination and anti-Sikh violence, the series echoes contemporary parallels, including references to COVID-19 times. The production’s color palette, dominated by sickly hues, complements the sad theme.

Performance Highlights:

Kay Kay Menon delivers a nuanced performance as the aging, empathetic stationmaster. R Madhavan and Divyenndu excel in colorful yet limited roles. The cinematography, while immersive, may induce physical discomfort with its unconventional angles and spins.

Cultural Harmony:

The Railway Men” subtly underscores the diversity of its heroes, many of whom are Muslim like the majority of the 1984 tragedy victims. The series, while not explicitly vocal about this, pivots towards portraying the unity of the Indian Railways and the people of Bhopal.

Despite some wishful elements, “The Railway Men” offers a poignant portrayal of personal sacrifices and collective resilience in the face of one of history’s most tragic events. Streaming on Netflix, the series invites viewers to witness a bracing saga of bravery amidst adversity.

Siddharth Menon

Siddharth Menon is a passionate Entertainment Reporter at IndiaFocus, specializing in the captivating worlds of Cinema, Fashion, and Lifestyle. With a keen eye for the latest trends and a profound… More »

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