Critically-acclaimed filmmaker Richie Mehta has come on board as the writer, director and showrunner for a series on the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy.
To be produced by producer Ronnie Screwvala's RSVP and Ramesh Krishnamoorthy’s Global One Studios, the series is based on Dominique Lapierre and Javier Moro's 1997 book, Five Past Midnight in Bhopal: The Epic Story of the World’s Deadliest Industrial Disaster.
Richie Mehta is best known for creating and directing Netflix's smash hit crime drama series Delhi Crime. Last year, the show bagged the best drama series award at the 48th International Emmy Awards.
Mehta said his attempt with the new series is to bring to screen the event in an "impartial" manner for the audience, who may have forgotten the tragedy, which killed over 15,000 people and lakhs affected. "The fact that it happened in the 1980s, it is starting to evaporate from the collective consciousness of young people. Many people don't even know about it or they hear rumours of it in India and certainly internationally.
"And so I feel like it's really important to get it out there in an impartial and extremely well-researched manner, which the authors have done," Richie Mehta said in a statement.
Writer and Richie's brother Shaun Mehta, who wrote the director's debut film Amal, is co-writing the series.
Richie Mehta lauded the authors for doing a "precise and fascinating" job of mapping out the human story, told in an impartial manner. "Which is very important to me as a storyteller to step back and allow the viewer to fill in that judgment, and in the case of something like this very harsh judgment, of course," he added.
The series, which is likely to consist of six to eight one-hour episodes, will commence production in early 2022. While no broadcasting partner has yet come on board, Screwvala said the team wants to develop the series independently.
"We're quite happy that we want to develop this completely on our own, go with our own conviction and go to somebody who buys into our vision rather than being a bit of a mishmash of everyone. Because the minute you get into development funding then it becomes just too many people in the room," he said.
RSVP’s Sanaya Irani Zohrabi, Krishnamoorthy and Mehta will serve as executive producers.