The Source Magazine had the opportunity to attend a special advanced screening of “Bhopal: A Prayer for Rain”  at the French Institute. 

The film, which will be released in theaters on Friday, November 7 was filmed in India and traces the lives of those living in Bhopal during the lead-up to what is still the world’s biggest chemical disaster through to its tragic aftermath, which many feel has still not been addressed, and which continues to have a major impact on peoples’ lives today. The film is produced by Sahara Movie Studios and Rising Star Entertainment both of whom have been committed to the project since inception.

After the screening we attended cocktails at Todd English Food Hall at The Plaza Hotel where we grabbed a word with Kal Penn.

Q: So we talked to the director, and he said that the reason you got on board was because you loved the script.  Can you tell us a little bit about that?

Kal Penn: I really enjoyed the script.  Enjoyed is probably the wrong word for an industrial tragedy.  But what I was essentially looking for was, I knew about the story, the real life story, and I had a chance to read the script and I felt like it was compelling in a way that took some creative liberties that I thought helped tell this narrative that a lot of other people had forgotten about otherwise. 30 years ago isn’t really that long ago and there are still instances of industrial accidents and disasters. At the end of the movie it talks about BP and some of the other more recent disasters, but if there is a smart way to tell this story, which is what Ravi Kumar wanted to do, I would love to be a part of it.

Q:  What was it like filming in Bhopal or in India?  Were they receptive of you?

Kal Penn: We shot in Hyderabad for the most part and a little bit in Mumbai.  It’s completely different than shooting here and I thought it was awesome.  I have only shot in India twice, once for The Namesake and for this movie.  Both completely different experiences.  I loved it.  Especially now with this generation of young filmmakers in India.  You used to see the directors and the PA’s.  The directors are really fascinating to talk to, I don’t know if you guys watch Indian movies but I’ve been watching a lot of things like Bombay Talkies which is a series of four shorts. So good, like incredible.  I just watched this movie D-Day with Irrfan Khan.  Rajpal Yadav, who is the lead of this movie, he plays the wedding singer in the beginning of that one, so there are all these different kinds movies coming out that it was really cool to be around people like that, that are at the forefront of that kind of cinema.

Q:  What kind of projects do you have upcoming?

Kal Penn:  So this movie comes out November 7 in the U.S.  I’m on a show called Battle Creek with Vince Gilligan who did Breaking Bad and David Shore who was my old boss on  House so that comes out January.  There is a movie called Dementamania, which is a British horror film that comes out this year, in December.  Then I have a Nat Geo show called Mapology which comes out next year and I’m also doing a Harold and Kumar animated series for Adult Swim.

-Angeli Kakade