'The Railway Men' a story of darkest night in modern Indian history through lens of hope: director
Panaji, Nov 23 (PTI) First-time director Shiv Rawail says he wanted the viewers to be filled with a sense of hope after watching 'The Railway Men', a web series set against the backdrop of the 1984 Bhopal gas leak tragedy, the 'darkest night in modern Indian history'.
Shiv made his debut with the show, which premiered on Netflix on November 18. It stars Kay Kay Menon, R Madhavan, Babil Khan and Divvyendu.
During a masterclass session at the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) here on Wednesday, the director said the beauty of the show is it captures the thought that there will be light at the end of the tunnel.
'You always want to leave with a sense of hope, respect, a little happiness in your eye, and you want to feel good about what you've seen. I think that even though the story is a tragedy, but if you can tell the story of the darkest night in modern Indian history through a lens of hope, courage, and that humanity will always exist and there always will be a light at the end of the tunnel, we thought that would be the most interesting thing,' Shiv, son of veteran filmmaker Rahul Rawail, said.
The director of the four-episode series said he is overwhelmed by the love coming his way for the show.
'We're seeing love from every corner of the world. I feel there are a lot more dimensions in the story, and I'm sure they will be explored at some time at some point.
'But I think to let people into this world, with a sense that even in such a dark situation, there were people who rose up beyond their duty, beyond their responsibilities, their families, just so that you could save one life or more. I think that was the beauty of it. And that's the sole reason why we did this,' he said.
'The Railway Men' primarily focuses on the Indian Railways employees who saved many lives during the fateful night of December 2-3, 1984, after a highly toxic gas leaked from the Union Carbide plant in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh.
The fact that the show is streaming on Netflix and will be available in many countries was an added responsibility, Shiv said.
The West has always told Indian stories from a stereotypical lens, he added.
'They (the colour palette of such films) were always very yellow and India would be very dirty in there. And I didn't believe that India was like that. I felt that this (series) was going to Netflix and reach the corners of the world, and it is a story about a national tragedy. So I felt a responsibility to represent it in the best way possible.
'If you see Western stories, they represent themselves so well. They are true to their geography and the feeling of that place. But they don't do a good job with our stories, it is our filmmakers who do a good job,' he said.
Divvyendu said the show felt personal as one of his batchmates from the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) lost his father in the Bhopal gas tragedy.
'It's a recent tragedy. We're not talking about World War I or World War II. People are still scarred with those memories. When I was at FTII, one of my classmates was from Bhopal and his dad used to work with the railways.
'And his dad was present on that fateful night at the station. He lost his life saving many people. When Shiv said we were making a project on the Bhopal gas tragedy, it was just so surreal for me. It brings back so many memories. It's still very personal in a very non-personal way,' the 'Mirzapur' star said. PTI RB RDS RDS
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