The Railway Men Review: Kay Kay Menon, Babil Khan Lead Strong Cast In This Gripping True-Life Saga

The Yash Raj Films drama series retells the events of the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy in compelling manner. The main highlights of this Netflix series are the solid ensemble cast and engrossing narrative which propel the four-part series forward.

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The Railway Men

Critic's Ratings

3.5

Action,Drama,Thriller

The Railway Men Review Kay Kay Menon Babil Khan Lead Strong Cast In This Gripping True-Life Saga

About The Railway Men

The Hindi web series, The Railway Men, which premieres on November 18 on Netflix, recounts the horrors of the Bhopal gas tragedy from the perspective of four men who tried their best to save as they could that fateful night. Directed by Shiv Rawail, the drama is inspired by true-life events and recreates several crucial moments from the past. The series handles the tension and suspense of the rescue mission with aplomb and brings out the best of its lead and ensemble cast as well in the process.

The Railway Men: Narrative

The drama sets up the story well, establishing the scene in Bhopal before, during and after the tragedy. The Union Carbide factory was situated amidst a slum area, and the factory workers, they were the ones who were most affected by the leak. There are many characters in The Railway Men, but the narrative hones in on four main characters - Bhopal Junction station master Iftekar Siddiqui (Kay Kay Menon), railway worker Imad Riaz (Babil Khan), a robber Balwant posing as Railway Protection Force (RPF) officer (Divyenndu) and Rati Pandey (R Madhavan), the GM of Central Railways.
How they go about trying to avert disaster and get aid for those survivors left behind makes up the crux of the four episodes series. Writer Aayush Gupta packs in a lot in these parts, covering topics like bureaucracy, anti-Sikh riots and corporate fraud. There are times when the plotlines get overwhelmed, but the emotional arc of this untold historical saga remains intact throughout.

The Railway Men: Performances

Besides the four 'railway men', the drama series has a great supporting cast that backs up leads. Some of the standouts include Juhi Chawla (a pleasant surprise), Dibyendu Bhattacharya, Sunny Hinduja, Raghubir Yadav and Mandira Bedi. Even the minor players in the scene do their parts well. Amongst the leads, Kay Kay Menon and Babil Khan carry off the sequences at Bhopal Junction effortlessly, while R Madhavan is cool and collected as his character forces a mini rebellion amongst the railway crew. Divyenndu's character manages a bit of levity and suspense with his intentions during the series.
However, the foreigners cast in the show as Americans and otherwise are all over the place. The accents and slightly over-the-top acting are a direct contrast to the ones from the Indian cast.

The Railway Men: Writing and Direction

While the show had the right idea to keep it as a mini-series with only four episodes, some of the stories regarding the smaller background characters, like a school swim team or an orphan at the railway station, feel a bit overstuffed. It oversells the emotional angle, where there are already so many plotlines that need attention.
Where the show does succeed is keeping the story directed on the main subject, the gas leak and its aftermath. The beginning episodes set how the whole situation was like a dormant volcano waiting to explode. Director Shiv Rawail keeps these portions and the ones involving the railway rescue operation taut, leaving you on the edge of your seat, wondering what will happen next.

The Railway Men: Critique

The last few minutes in the final episode are a sobering reminder of the actual tragedy that left 15,000 people dead on December 2, 1984. The Railway Men teaches you a history lesson while keeping you entertained with its action-packed storyline. Some of the parts that feel like fiction are actually taken from real-life happenings.
In its first web series, Yash Raj Films managed to create a riveting drama inspired by history books. There have been other projects on this same event, but as its tagline states, it captures the 'untold story' of these ordinary heroes who went about doing their jobs.
End of Article

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