On the night of December 2nd, 1984, in New Delhi around 3,000 people were killed due to a gas leak of a toxic gas from an industrial plant nearby. This happened after a poisonous gas leaked from the Union Carbide pesticide plant located in Bhopal.

This particularly tragic incident proved to be an inspiration to a select number of filmmakers.

As the 33rd anniversary of this disaster approaches, movies about the disaster will no doubt be at the forefront in the discussions about what happened and the aftermath. Here are some of the movies that have tackled the Bhopal tragedy:

Bhopal Express

It was created in 1999 and directed by Mahesh Mathai. It involved an intriguing drama involving a newlywed couple whose lives were altered by the lethal gas tragedy in Bhopal. It featured an impressive line of characters that included Kay Kay Menon, Naseeruddin Shah, Nethra Raghuraman and Zeenat Aman.

“The Yes Men Fix the World”

It was created in 2009. It took a comedic view while portraying the after effects of the Bhopal disaster. It was a political documentary, co-produced, written and directed by Andy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonanno. It was dedicated to the ongoing struggle of Bhopal inhabitants. It was further co-directed by Kurt Engfehr.

“Bhopal: a prayer for rain”

It was released on Dec. 5 in India, Nov. 7 in New York where it sold out and Nov. 14 in Los Angeles.  It was directed by Ravi Kumar. It featured Martin Sheen, Mischa Barton, Kal Penn, Raajpal Yadav and Tannishtha Chatterjee. The feature mostly focused on the events leading up to the industrial disaster as it associated closely with the life of rickshaw puller Dilip, a role played by Raajpal who got a job at the Union Carbide Plant.


Joseph Malone made a documentary on the disaster that still haunts many today thus highlighting Dow Chemical’s responsibilities to the people inhabiting Bhopal. It further focused on a particular clinic that would provide free health care to victims of the unforgettable incident and those who were otherwise affected by the contaminated water. This is still proving to be a problem as the disaster is yet to be cleaned up.

“One Night in Bhopal”.

This is a story leaning towards more fact than fiction and it displays the Bhopal tragedy through the eyes of a person who experienced these horrors. This BBC documentary that was created in 2004, outlines the series of events that guided and led the disaster, horror, and terror that took place in the early hours of December 3rd, in the year 1984.


The filmmakers who behind the production of this film, found their inspiration from the events leading up to the Bhopal gas leak tragedy. Some of them found inspiration from the lives of the victims as well. Van Maximilian proved to be such a director due to his presentation of the story of the survivors of this particular industrial disaster. Bhopali displays the suffering and struggles for justice against the Union Carbide which was an American company responsible catastrophic event.

As is evident by the number of movies memorializing the Bhopal tragedy and tackling the issues around it, not forgetting the real people who have undergone so much suffering in health and of course some losing their lives- gas leaks are a serious problem when they occur. It is imperative that we take every precaution and safety measure to avoid gas leaks in the home or in industries.