‘The Railway Men,’ Netflix’s Hindi language thriller show, revolves around the fallout of a mammoth magnitude after a pesticide plant failure releases the poisonous MIC chemical into the night air at Bhopal. As a result, multiple people fell victim to the accident, losing their lives due to company safety negligence. Leading up to the tragedy, one of the factory workers in a position of authority, Kamruddin, routinely witnesses the lax security and fail-safe protocols in place at the factory. Consequently, he remains privy to the ticking bomb that the Union Carbide factor presents and attempts to unveil the truth before adverse complications.
Nevertheless, Kamruddin’s efforts go in vain, and the factory malfunctions before the general public can be informed about its dangers. Yet, the man refuses to back down in the face of adversity and tries to minimize the leak’s harmful effects, sacrificing his own life in the process. However, the man’s heroic death leaves his pregnant wife, Nafisa, to fend for herself in a city that has turned into a deadly chamber. As such, Nafisa’s fight for her and her unborn child’s life becomes an emotionally stirring part of the narrative, keeping the viewers on their toes. SPOILERS AHEAD!
Do Nafisa and Her Baby Survive?
After the initial gas leakage, toxic air spreads over the streets of Bhopal, claiming life after life. The effects are seen earliest in the colonies near the factory, including the one where Nafisa resides. Yet, when her neighbors arrive to help her flee the scene, Nafisa, already starting to feel the toxic gas attack her eyes and throat, refuses to leave, waiting on her husband. Prior to the accident, Kamruddin gave his wife a gas mask to prepare for the worst. As such, his wife believes her husband would be back for his family, oblivious to the man’s unfortunate death.
Eventually, the Nafisa gathers whatever measly strength she has left and drags herself over to the factory to search for her husband. Instead, she only finds a locked gate and Kamruddin’s scooter lying on the ground in disarray. By then, the gas already started to take hold of the woman, negatively affecting her health. Thankfully, reporter Kumawat, who has been working with Kamruddin to expose Union Carbide, crosses paths with the woman in the nick of time.
As a result, Kumawat drives Nafisa to the nearest hospital as her water breaks. Despite the hordes of dead, dying, and injured people at the establishment, the doctors and the nurses manage to guide Nafisa through childbirth, and she welcomes her newborn son into the world. However, given the fraught circumstances around the birth, the child suffered from a shortage of oxygen. While recuperating from the taxing ordeal, Nafisa hands Kumawat an amulet to pass on to her son so that it may keep him safe.
Ultimately, both Nafisa and her son pull through after the night’s traumatic events. Still, the accident leaves their lives forever changed, having turned Nafisa into a widow and her son an orphan. Twelve years later, Kumawat still stays in touch with the mother-son duo, striving to bring justice to their situation and others like them.
Nafisa and her son live in a gas-victim widow colony, a rundown place with hardly any upkeep. Furthermore, the family continues to be robbed by people in power, who routinely delay Kamruddin’s pension, a small amount of ₹300 per month. Due to the oxygen shortage and MIC exposure at the time of birth, Nafisa’s son developed neurological conditions, preventing him from finding normal education or job opportunities. Although the pair survive the night, it continues to plague their lives.