The companies have optioned the audio-visual rights to eminent authors’ Dominique Lapierre and Javier Moro’s 2001 book, “Five Past Midnight in Bhopal: The Epic Story of the World’s Deadliest Industrial Disaster.”
A cloud of toxic gas escaped from an American pesticide plant, in 1984, in the central Indian city of Bhopal. It killed and injured thousands of people. In “Five Past Midnight in Bhopal” Lapierre and Moro weave hundreds of characters, eyewitness accounts, and adventures into a human tapestry.
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.’ A series that will keep you on the edge of your seat, touch your heart, provoke your anger and compassion. It will challenge the determination and implementation of international policy while also celebrating the spirit of human endeavor against all odds. There isn’t a better time for this story to be told.”
Screwvala, who previously served as head of Disney India, produced “Uri: The Surgical Strike,” India’s highest grossing war film with $48 million. RSVP has another war film “Pippa,” starring Ishaan Khatter from Mira Nair’s Toronto-closer “A Suitable Boy,” and love story “Sitara” in the works.
RSVP creative producer, Sanaya Irani Zohrabi, said: “In collaboration with executive producer, Ramesh Krishnamoorthy, we’re working towards a grand-scale series adaptation of the book and are currently in talks with potential international showrunners, writers and directors.”
Krishnamoorthy’s credits include Tamil-language films “Raman Thediya Seethai” (2008) and “Chaarulatha” (2012) and Hindi-language film “Alone” (2015). He is currently producing Tamil-language film “Hey Sinamika,” starring Dulquer Salman, Kajal Agarwal and Aditi Rao Hydari,” with Mukesh Ambani’s Jio Studios; the Hindi-language remake of the Tamil film titled “Oththa Seruppu Size 7,” with Saregama; and a series on sandalwood bandit Veerappan titled “108 Days” for MX Player.
Books co-written by Lapierre that have seen film adaptations include Rene Clement’s “Is Paris Burning?” (1966) and Roland Joffe “City of Joy” (1992). Moro is best known for “The Red Sari,” a biography of Sonia Gandhi, a colorful figure in Indian politics.
Feature films based on the Bhopal gas tragedy include Mahesh Mathai’s “Bhopal Express” (1999) and Ravi Kumar’s “Bhopal: A Prayer for Rain” (2014), starring Mischa Barton, Kal Penn, Martin Sheen and Tannishtha Chatterjee.