The Heart Becomes Quiet

Documentary, 88 minutes, 1999

An exploration of how lives were changed by the Union Carbide gas tragedy of 1984, in Bhopal, India, the world’s worst industrial disaster.

The production focuses on seven individuals whose lives were utterly changed by the gas tragedy.

Included are Rashida Bi (a gas-affected Muslim woman who has become the driving force behind a stationary factory for Muslim and Hindu women from the gas-affected neighbourhoods); Hamida Bi (another Muslim woman who before the gas had rarely left her home, but who now is one of Bhopal’s most vocal activists); Harishankar Magician (whose injuries from the gas have forced him to give up his previous livelihood and take up the less strenuous trade of fortune-telling via an electronic astrology machine); Gas Devi, who was born in the Orriya ghetto on the night of the gas; Safaraz Danish (a poet whose first and only book of poetry was published in 1984 and who has struggled since then to regain his voice and to speak for his community about the tragedy); and Brian Mooney (an American who worked for the law firm that represented Union Carbide, but who has since left law and is now living in Bhopal doing anthropological research on the people of Bhopal and their perceptions of justice and systems of power).

Produced and Directed by Robin Schlaht and David Christensen.

Distributed by Maple Lake Releasing

Selected Festivals and Screenings

  • Human Rights Project, Bard College, New York, USA, 2004
  • Islamic Society of North America Annual Conference, Chicago, USA, 2003
  • Independents Film Festival, Tampa, Florida, USA, 2002
  • The Global Collaboratory, Syracuse University, NY, USA, 2002
  • American Sociological Association Annual Conference, Washington, DC, USA, 2000
  • Global Visions Festival, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, 1999
  • Regina Public Library Theatre, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, 1999
  • Medicine Hat Public Library Theatre, Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada, 1999
Producers Robin Schlaht and David Christensen
Directors Robin Schlaht and David Christensen
Videographer Robin Schlaht
Editor David Christensen
Interviewers Shobha Aggarwal
Vibha Mishra
Meena Singh
Pranay Sharma
Heather Malek
Sound Recordist Heather Malek
Sound Designer Pat Butler
Sound Editor Cary Ciesielski
Translators Raka Jain
Saroj Varma
Shiv Ganguly
Janamejay Nemede
Shailesh Bandaker
Archival Photos R.C. Sahu
Prakesh Hatvaine
Consultant Suketu Mehta
The Producers Wish to Thank:
Sambhavna Clinic
Suketu Mehta
Sajida Bano & Shoaib
Pano Bai & Jouhar Lal
Satinath Sarangi
Ashis Gupta
Ingrid Christensen
Hussain Amarshi
Belinda New
Feroz Mehdi
Dr. Ray Sentes
Mardele Harland
Dr. Sheila Petty
Produced in Association with:
Saskatchewan Communications Network
Vision TV
Access The Education Channel
The Canadian Independent Film and Video Fund
The CFCN Production Fund, in association with CTV
Television, Inc.
The National Film Board of Canada
The Sundance Documentary Fund
Telefilm Canada
This film would not have been possible without the gracious participation of:
Harishankar Magician
Hamida Bi
Brian Mooney
Safaraz Danish
Sultan Kaleem
Rashida Bi
Nirmati Bai & Gas Devi
Krishna Bai