The Railway Men: Aditya Chopra Hits A Sixer With This Gripping Saga Of Unsung Heroes

Presents a realistic picture.

The Railway Men (Hindi)

  • Cast: Kay Kay Menon, Babil Khan, R Madhavan, Divyenndu Sharma, and Juhi Chawla
  • Director: Shiv Rawail
  • Producer: Aditya Chopra
  • Music: Sam Slater
  • No. of episodes: 4
  • OTT platform: Netflix

The Bhopal Gas tragedy of 1984 is one of the darkest chapters in Indian history. Thousands lost their lives, and thousands are still suffering from the severe aftereffects.

As the title suggests, The Railway Men limited web series focuses the lens on the little-known heroes of the Indian Railways and how they had put their lives at stake to save as many lives as possible on that fateful night.

There are four main characters in the web show. Iftekaar Siddiqui (Kay Kay Menon) is the station master of Bhopal Junction. Imaad Riaz (Babil Khan) is the newly joined locomotive pilot.

R Madhavan plays the Central Railways GM. Divyenndu is a thug who wants to take advantage of the chaos around them but contributes to the rescue mission.

Meanwhile, Journalist Jagmohan Kumawat (Sunny Hinduja) runs a crusade against the American company Union Carbide — even before the gas leak — and warns the locals against the impending danger. This, he does, in spite of the attempts to silence him.

Synopsis

Babil Khan in The Railway Men
Babil Khan in ‘The Railway Men’. (NetflixIndia/ X)

Through the four episodes, director-cum-co-writer Shiv Rawail presents a horrifying picture of the tragedy.

The Railway Men web series hits the ground running for the first time. The director doesn’t mince any words in throwing light on the moral corruption within the political landscape, including how the chief of the Union Carbide factory got away without any punishment. This he does successfully through the character of Sunny Hinduja.

What also works for The Railway Men is the strong emotional connection that Shiv Rawail builds through his characters.

The subject of the Bhopal Gas tragedy is a difficult subject to handle for any director, let alone a debutant, but the newbie more than lives up to the challenge.

The limited web series has quite a lot of close-up shots of poison emanating from people’s mouths. These scenes are difficult to watch, but they leave a solid impact on the viewers’ minds.

A realistic portrayal

Kay Kay Menon in The Railway Men
Kay Kay Menon in ‘The Railway Men’. (NetflixIndia/ X)

The web series also presents a realistic picture of the aftereffects of the gas leak.

Of course, as viewers, you do feel happy when the four men together save some lives. But the series is also a reminder of how things are still bleak for those who survived that night.

The production design of Rajat Poddar is another plus for the series. He does a splendid job of creating an authentic atmosphere.

The Railway Men also briefly touches upon the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, along with another brief subplot about a group of women who were going to participate in a swimming competition.

The angle involving the anti-Sikh riots has been well integrated, but the other one doesn’t really work.

Performances

R Madhavan in The Railway Men
R Madhavan in ‘The Railway Men’. (NetflixIndia/ X)

The performances of all the actors are top-notch, starting with the excellent Kay Kay Menon. The actor is at his usual best, portraying the determination and courage of Iftekaar.

Divyenndu Sharma portrays the dual-shaded personality of his character well. He delivers some punchy one-liners.

Babil Khan is also flawless. He perfectly adopts the Bhopali dialect. He is one of the men who dies on that tragic night.

R Madhavan has a late entry, but the actor is authoritative in all his scenes. There is a solid monologue involving Madhavan, where he delivers with his usual panache.

Juhi Chawla plays the solo woman representative of the government. She is good in her brief role.

Here, it has to be said that the women characters could have been more impactful.

Final take

The Railway Men is the first web series that YRF has produced. Let’s hope that Aditya Chopra continues to bankroll more web shows on various subjects.

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