Paani Script

water album - 008.jpg
3 years ago, before I started on Golden Age, I began to compile pictures of people that live on the streets and under the new highways. Pictures that would help in the research for what conditions are likely to be for people that live on streets and in water deprived conditions. As many of you know, Paani is the story of a city that has been divided into the upper and the lower city. In the year 2025. Global warming has taken place leading to a severe water shortage. The Upper City sucks up all the water and then drip feeds the lower city. Water is now a weapon of economic and political oppression. Writing the script now !

47 thoughts on “Paani Script

  1. Wow! that’s a beautiful picture… I find it surprising that humans have the ability to live in extreme deprivation and still be able to find reasons to smile… For an outsider their situation may be horrible but they still survive, multiply and keep on living… What fuels their desire to live on? I guess, its hope or ignorance..

  2. considering how DIFFICULT it already is for the lower city its really scary…. what awaits us ! even today with the rising cost of living most of them barely survive. things getting any worse for them…….and the controlled hatred for the ones who ‘have’ will be unleashed like a torrent! and who can blame them?!

  3. Dear Shekhar,
    I really really feel sorry for that KID in the picture. We all should do something towards providing Indians with basic necessities.
    Shekhar, every time I feel that I have done something in my life and feel proud of my achievements, you come up with me a sensible blog. Reminding me what left to be done!!

  4. Great thoughts and best wishes
    Water the bare necessity and shortage of drinkable water everywhere on this planet.
    Humanity has not yet evolved to a level that everyone can have safe drinking water even in US?
    It reminds me of the “Deep Impact” where New York drowns under water.
    You will do really great.

  5. This strikes me as a juxtaposition of the mythological and the psychological. Mythological in that we are always caught up in the duality of have and have nots. Psychological in that all the characters mirror this conflict. Maybe the earth is trying to suck us up into the cosmic womb. I am spurred to learn more about Paani.

  6. I stay in the ‘millenium city’ Gurgaon & the way things are moving this perhaps might become the first city in the world to be completely deserted because of lack of water. One of the most expensive areas to buy real estate today in India this IT suburb of Delhi is frighteningly hurtling towards a water-scarcity disaster.
    This fast-developing city is likely to lose all ground water reserves within the next 10 years. The watertable, which is going down at the rate of 10 feet per year, has already dropped to 160 metres and even lower in certain areas.
    On one hand there are farmers whose fields are going dry as they cannot irrigate their fields because the powerful tubewells installed by the big-builders are sucking up all the water and fulfilling the ’24 hour water-supply promise’ made to the people buying the penthouses.
    so it is not just the poeple living on the streets who’ll get affected. there will be farmers who’ll abandon their fields because they cannot irigate them. ( Haryana at one time was a model example of ground-water irrigation in the country)
    1. There’ll be farmers who’ll abandon their fields.
    2. There’ll millionares who’ll sell branded water. I can foresee an oversubsribed IPO of Reliance Water.
    3. There’ll be local ‘Water mafias’ controlling the tankers.
    4. There’ll be ‘water-parties’ thrown by the rich & the famous.
    Yes water will become a source of power a hence a weapon.
    A lot will happen over ‘Paani’ …

  7. Thanneer !! Thanneer (Water ! Water!)
    It was a Tamil film (released in early 80’s) directed by K. Balachander (who directed more than 100 movies, introduced Kamal, Rajini etc).
    He took a wonderful movie about the Water problems and people struggle, political involvement etc.
    It was a movie just ONLY about water problem. Such a bold movie he took in 80’s. I think this was the only movie in the world only about WATER.
    Hope Shekhar Kapur movie will also create a kind of awareness about water and its politics.
    Shekhar if you find time please try to see that movie. It is a very good movie.
    All the best !!!

  8. water…we will have so much of it around us, yet, we will not be able to consume it, like that of what we are doing to the earth, the earth, in it’s suffering, will not be able to provide for us…then we shall suffer too.
    the picture is a reminder to us of the perils of cause and effect.
    movie making is a powerful tool for sending messages…all the best to you Shekhar, you are most fitting for delivering

  9. Dear Shekhar,
    That’s a brilliant news. I am so glad that you have finally started writing the script for Paani, a project which has been so close to your heart.
    You have been pretty active in your blogging since last 2-3 months and I could see you becoming more and more clearer in your thoughts and ambitions.
    It makes me feel excited that Iam one of those few blessed readers of your blog who are live witnesses of this interesting period of your life.
    Best of Luck Shekhar

  10. Hi Shekhar,
    Will this film revolve around a class war between the Upper and the Lower city? Will it show a power struggle among the big sharks within the Upper city to control the Water sources? Will it be a love story with the water scarcity theme as a backdrop? What will be the ending? Will it have a happy ending?
    So many questions popped in my head when I read the good news that you’re finally getting down to make this film. Gee….I just know it’s gonna be an epic film. I’m excited.
    Excellent inputs by Jeetu. Maybe you could use some of them in Paani. It conjured up vivid images in my mind.
    Cheers and all the best!
    PS: I noticed that the time stamp on your blog shows 3:33 PM. Auspicious number. 😉

  11. dude..
    i am shooting my first short film…doing dummy shoot first…and i realized all the people who are successful directors are GODS…hahahaha… writing is easy…but now i have tasted the real blood of direction….GRHHHHHHHHHH
    bye bye…have to go now…EP is calling…hahaha…its fun…

  12. But before getting into the water shortage days wont we be facing the fossil fuel crisis? Bcos, for oil it wont be mafias or rich that will be fighting. The fight will be between nations. An ultimate fight of power and weapons. And imagine if India is stopped its supply of oil then what will happen. No development and hence no excessive need of water. In that case we will have plenty of water to play with then. Just a thought…

  13. Dear Shekhar,
    I am sure it will turn out to be a wonderful and path breaking film – the first of its kind from India. I saw the website with the Paani poster that you had created sometime back with a child sitting inside the well (that’s what I remember) – it was quite a haunting photo and gave me a wonderful feeling about the film. That link is taking us to ‘Intention Media’ website now that talks about water and has this beautiful quote, “Water is the driving force of all nature.” Leonardo da Vinci.
    You had also told on a TV interview in the UK that there is also some kind of a love story involved, that should also be very interesting.
    Do you plan to make the sets right here in Mumbai or shoot some parts overseas? Also, I belive it may require some cutting edge effects which will also be a first for an Indian film.
    The picture you posted is a common sight in Mumbai (they are everywhere and life is hard for them) and I sincerely hope that with this film you can give a big message of “hope” to everyone.
    Best Regards,

  14. I will write more about how the paani script is developing, but we should all congratulate kedar on his first directorial venture ! Kedar would like to share it with all of us ? I will post it as a blog if u do – Shekhar

  15. Nice timing, when there’s much consciousness, debate and discussion about the environment and natural resources.
    FYI on a related topic is a 4-part lecture series on “Troubled Waters” hosted at Stanford University, CA (…the first of which was a recent talk by Dr. Peter Gleick, a leading water expert, president and co-founder of the Pacific Institute, a nonpartisan think-tank studying issues at the intersection of development, environment, and security. If interested in the lecture series, you may check audio archives of the series through Stanford on itunes U in the near future ( – part 1 of 4 is not yet uploaded as of this moment.
    Related links :

  16. This is for Jeetu…( I wonder if I know you? dont know why your comments seem similar to somone intelligent I know)
    very well said Jeetu…allow me to put some light here…
    Water already is being handled by local mafia types in Darjeeling and towns around…
    Water is sold there…this is for your information.
    Army water supplies are constant, hence these locals dig hole in the pipes, and sell connections….lol. Tis good business for them…
    Money , money everywhere not a drop to drink!!

  17. hi ! very good morning to you ! have a lovely day in this beautiful unusually nippy weather…wishing you all the most profound inspirations for your script…….eat well….
    sleep well……. and wake up to your usual brilliance :)…..take care !

  18. Good Morning Shekhar!
    “Congratulations Kedar”
    Care to have kaju ki barfi from my hand?Promise not poisoned!!
    Bache ki jaan nahi lenge eh heh!!
    Wish You ‘Both’ all the very best….

  19. hi shekhar,
    when a thinker is silent it could mean 2 things…….a positive…that you’re in the midst of ideas …..and a negative….your emotions are bottled up at the moment. when we visit your blog regularly there is a bond with you…….which makes us want to see you HAPPY ! share……. and the good will get better…….and the negatives will get blown away !

  20. not really neha, the excitement seems to have worn off – the patterns are the same – and the ambitions now are different. make films that make a difference, if that is at all possible

  21. Thanks for reply shekhar…
    U will make it. u don’t know, but we trust you that you will definitely make a difference and that’s completely possible:-))
    You get it what you think of the most!
    Well…that is the bit hangover of the book ‘The Secret’ by Rhonda Byrne…u must have read it or theirs no need you to read it… all successful people inherit that.

  22. Thanks for reply shekhar…
    U will make it. u don’t know, but we trust you that you will definitely make a difference and that’s completely possible:-))
    You get it what you think of the most!
    Well…that is the bit hangover of the book ‘The Secret’ by Rhonda Byrne…u must have read it or theirs no need you to read it… all successful people inherit that.

  23. Hope Paani is flowing well! and the characters are speaking to you for real. Quite an exciting expedition. As for making a difference, I hope it does and that you enjoy and evolve with the film; if the work comes from one’s passion or core as your films often do, it does make a difference one way or the other.
    kedar, congrats! Would sure like to hear about your directorial experiences.

  24. Hey Shekhar,
    i’m reading “City of joy”, although I have seen the movie, the book is quite different, this picture seems to have come out of the book…
    Good luck for Paani…don’t think u need any help but if you do then feel free to contact.

  25. I don’t want to get into the supernatural stuff, of the thoughts being connected and many people thinking about the same stuff, upper and lower city
    read you are writing the script, would be nice to get your reply, won’t stalk you or anything, i am not looking to meet shekhar kapur but the guy who’s writing “paani” …..

  26. Dear Shekhar,
    Good Morning! Hope something is coming out from the chaos around you. Remember, you said something of this sort during that episode of ” Jeena isi ka naam hai” which was filmed on you I guess some years back ? I accidentally bumped into that episode of yours yesterday ( it’s available at under tv shows) and it was an absolute delight to watch you as never before. I really liked the format of that show which not only allowed you to be yourself but also allowed you to have genuine fun. Your amazing sense of humor was evident all through the show. Actually, I shouldn’t have been surprised to witness your funny side. I believe that sense of humor is the highest form of intelligence & how could somebody like you would not have it.
    I just thought of reminding you that amazing quality of yours and I wish you bring that subtle humor in your script once again.
    Keep going Shekhar..

  27. WARNING : After reading “Dev”‘s post i went to to check out shekhar’s interview but my comp was attacked by virus – luckily i have good virus protection.. just wanted to warn you all…

  28. Manasi,
    Iam really surprised at the tone of your message. By putting my name in parenthesis, what are you hinting at???? Do you mean to suggest that my post is a spam and Iam here to spread viruses? Or you think that Iam promoting rajshri’s website?? I really feel sorry for you if that’s what your post means.
    The problem is in your computer not in Rajshri’s website ( I have been watching some old hindi movies through their website since quite some time, and I never had any problem). Also, for your information, that website is run by Rajshri people who gave us biggest blockbuster of Indian cinema ” Hum Aapke hain kaun”. The least they can do is to have viruses in their website to mar their reputation built over half a century.
    So, please first go and check your facts before jumping to ludicrous conclusions.

  29. ‘Blue Gold’, that’s how water was decribed in a magazine I read sometime, and also that the next WW will be for water. And I think that is so true. Scary, but the truth.

  30. Dear Sir,
    i am Rakesh Mehta from New previous life is similiar to you and currently doing a film making course in Mumbai.i too wants to express myself through the palteform which i was always passionate about.comes back to Pani i find its very intersting but i feel that i must share my thoughts about it.
    since Pani along with air are essential tool to live for all of us be it upper class or lower you think that in such a critical situation when shortage of water will arise the upper class would really be able to opress the lower class ?by going with numbers majority of people are lower class in our country would they really care for law or politicaly or econimically strong people in case the time comes for them to battle for water and air ?
    please comments !
    i am sure i’ll get some answer from you.
    Rakesh Mehta

  31. Dear Shekahr
    Congratulations for producing a movie on Water. This should bring awareness on the attitude of Indian masses on water.Industries such as power plants, pulp and paper, sugar and distilleries, steel mills etc. are the biggest gulpers of water in India. Substantial quantities of water can be saved if these industries use water judiciously and recycle the used water.

  32. This is a great and inovative subject. Based on Shekhar Kapur’s directing and script subject, this will most likly be an unforgettable art film.
    I would do anything thing to be a part of this film.

  33. Dear Mr Kapur,
    It was with a great deal of interest that I read about your upcoming project “Paani”. As the editor of Asian Water Magazine, which is Asia’s largest magazine on water and wastewater, I am keen to see how you will depict the problems of water faced by urban dwellers.
    There are a great deal of myths and misconceptions about the water sector. A lot of debate has centred on irrelevant issues such as whether to privatise water services or not. Many water experts feel that the general media tends to toe the line of vociferous NGO groups rather than getting to the crux of the issues. Dams are equated with disaster. Privatisation is construed to mean a sell-out of assets and inflation of tariffs. It is important to get to the crux of the issues.
    It costs money to treat water and to pipe it to consumers. Chemicals needed to treat water are expensive and so is the electricity needed to drive pumps. While the good God gives rain to us free, he does not send it in pipes to our taps. This is something that all citizens must understand and they must be ready to pay the correct price for the water they drink. The municipalities that supply us with water are not able to recover their costs through tariffs and this is the root of all problems.
    The point that the public sector can actually work in a partnership with the private sector and that the model of this partnership can be tailor-made to suit each country’s requirements has somehow been missed by the general media. At the moment, in most Asian countries with a few exceptions like Singapore, the corrupt and inept public sector is unable to single-handedly and efficiently tackle the burden of getting water from sources, purifying it and distributing it to all the citizens. Partnership with the private sector is necessary and inevitable.
    One of the biggest myths is that the poor are unable to pay for water. In reality, the poor are paying many times more than the rich in urban areas. The water tariffs which have been kept artificially low in urban areas are only benefitting the people with household connections and they are not poor. On the other hand, the poor have to pay for every bucket, which makes them part with a great percentage of their incomes.
    Traditionally, governments and owners of municipal utilities hold tariffs down to the extent that the utilities make an operating loss then cover this loss through debt. The debts mount for years and are eventually written off. This method of financing offers political advantages. The scale of the debt gives politicians in the public authority, which is lending the money, direct control over the utility. This enables them, for example, to guarantee “social employment opportunities” for party supporters or in the distribution of large contracts,” it observes.
    Although subsidies do enable utilities to keep their tariffs down, they do not encourage long-term investment in the water sector. A fact that cannot be disputed is that full-cost recovery tariffs are the best guarantee of a utility’s financial independence and ability to invest in future needs. Subsidy encourages corruption and the problem is compounded where water is scarce and needs to be rationed. If a water utility loses money on every cubic metre of water it sells over the counter, its management will quickly find a way to make a profit by selling under the counter.
    The example of Tirupur in India illustrates the tremendous potential of innovative financing that can be utilised by public-private partnerships. Most municipal water utilities in the developing world are considered bad risks in the local credit market, and must therefore rely on the favour of the central government in order to borrow money. The solution adopted in Tirupur was to introduce credit support instruments, whereby the funding agency would guarantee a bond issued by the municipality, ensuring that it was attractive to investors in the local capital markets. This successful model used for the Rs 10.23 billion project provided water to nearly 1,000 textile units and over 16 lakh residents in Tirupur and its surrounding areas.
    I would be very happy if your movie “Paani” highlights the real problem which is poor governance and talks about innovative financial as well as technical solutions. There are many success stories which show that good water management can be achieved even with limited resources. I know you are making a movie, not a documentary so there are many constraints when it comes to depicting reality.
    I would like to point you to my blog at where I have put many of my thoughts. If you would like more information or clarifications, please do not hesitate to contact me.
    Best Regards,
    Sahana Singh
    Asian Water Magazine

  34. dear shekhar,
    i work for an NGo based in bangalore called SVARAJ (formerly) oxfam india. we work mainly in the field of water, can we get an interview of yours in our publication regarding the film paani.


  36. Hi Shekhar
    I am a fan of yours and eagerly waiting for your movie titled PAANI. I had written a story PAANI@2015, 2 years back which has been awarded at various platforms. There will be a time when water becomes a resource so scarce that it is a significant political issue. It deals with the situation in 2015 when water will be out of the reach of common man and MNC’s will take over the distribution of water.
    Sushma Jagmohan

  37. Dear Sir,
    I am looking for startup as an AD.I have done Film Appreciation course from FTII, Digital cinematography and Motion Picture Photography courses from VIMS and Non-Linear Editing course from SAMS.
    Also I have made Three short films as Independent Filmmaker.
    I shall leave no stones unturned to prove my worth.
    Looking forward in anticipation.
    Thanks and warm regards,
    Amit Tiwari

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