Ronnie Screwvala planning series on Lapierre-Moro's Bhopal gas tragedy book
The Bhopal gas tragedy is a disaster no one can forget, ever. And Ronnie Screwvala, the producer behind Uri, Barfi, and Rang De Basanti, is planning to create a series based on the tragedy. Five Past Midnight in Bhopal: The Epic Story of the World's Deadliest Industrial Disaster will serve as its base. Ramesh Krishnamoorthy, the producer of Chaarulatha (2012), is executive producing the series.
The 1984 tragedy and its consequences have been detailed in the book by authors Dominique Lapierre and Javier Moro. The book was released in 2001 and became a bestseller amid controversies politically and factually, as it faced legal challenges and questions based on events mentioned in the book disputed by journalists. Screwvala's production house RSVP and Krishnamoorthy's Global One Studios will back the series.
On the night of December 2-3, 1984, a malfunctioning tank filled with 42 tons of poisonous chemical methyl isocyanate (MIC), far surpassing the limit of 30 tonnes of the same chemical, reacted with water seeping in and led to the emission of about 30 tonnes of MIC gas from Union Carbide's factory into Bhopal's air. It killed more than 15,000, affecting over 600,000 workers.
The disaster impacted too much too soon, as most of Bhopal got wind of the leak with the poisonous gas before the official declaration by Union Carbide authorities. Neonatal mortality rate and stillbirth rose to alarming levels as people dropped dead on the streets of the city, vomiting. Films Bhopal Express (1999) and Bhopal: A Prayer for Rain (2014) harp on the tragedy.
Drawing parallels with HBO miniseries Chernobyl, Screwvala said, "A breath-taking story, compellingly told, this story needs to be adapted for screen with the importance and scale as that of Chernobyl... There isn't a better time for this story to be told." RSVP creative producer Sanaya Irani Zohrabi added that they are in talks with "potential international showrunners, writers, and directors" for the series.