Archive for the ‘Paani’ Category

Paani research pic, under the mumbai flyovers

Just 5 days into the Water Crisis, and people of Mumbai are living in fear. And in thirst.

Death toll up to 7 in riot over water tanker in Malabar Hill, Mumbai

The driver of the water tanker, Suresh Salve succumbed to his injuries in hospital, as the death toll in the ‘water tanker riot’ rose to 7. Harish Malvade, the guard who fired the first shot killing Pradeep Amre, the 11 year old boy from the local slum, is fighting for his life even as the police waits to question him. Sources say the gun was unlicensed.

The riot apparently broke out as the people from the slum tried to stop the tanker and ask for water. The driver tried to force the tanker through the crowd, injuring some people, and riot broke out. The driver was pulled out and almost beaten to death.

Meanwhile the parents of the boy, Pradeep Amre are leading a morcha of over a 100 slum dwellers demanding an investigation into why a thirsty young school boy was shot for trying to steal a water from the tanker. The Mumbai police are trying to bring the situation under control as the riots threaten to spread to other parts of Mumbai. The water situation continues to be precarious and water tankers are being brought in to Mumbai, but are often unable to get to their destination as they are waylaid by armed gangs.

This is the 5th day of no piped water supply in Mumbai.

There are questions demanding to know why an armed guard was traveling with the water tanker. A news bureau report has confirmed that the guard was hired by the new Water Mafia that has emerged in Mumbai. Hotels and Housing Societies in the posher areas are now dealing directly with the Water Mafia to supply them with water as the BMC distribution systems have broken down, and the State Government is trying to bring the situation under control. Promising that supply lines will be restored as water becomes available. The reservoirs are low, as the demand in the city far outstrips the supply of water.

Meanwhile, the State Government has asked schools and colleges to shut down till the situation eases. Five Star hotels have become a refuge against the water crisis, and in the city are already full. Reportedly they are charging upwards of Rs 75,000 per night, but are not taking any bookings over two to 3 nights as they cannot assure any water supply beyond that. Hotels too apparently are dealing directly with the Water Mafia.

Airlines and trains are reportedly showing heavy loads of people leaving Mumbai, and airlines are putting up more flights. The water crises is a financial bonanza for airlines and hotels in the short term, but the chairman of one airline said in a press conference that in the long term such a crisis will drastically reduce the amount of traffic in Mumbai.

The US government yesterday issued a travel warning to it’s citizens in Mumbai, and are reportedly moving staff to their other consulates within the country till the water crisis eases out.

Citizen groups are co operating with the police and the State Government. The biggest fear is that sectarian violence will break out as local political parties step up their call for a ban of entry of people to Mumbai. The State Government has appealed for calm and said any panic will only make matters worse. They are promising to repair the pipelines that have been damaged. Reports are coming through that some of the pipelines were deliberately damaged by the water mafia to create the shortage.

In the meantime the Army has been called in to ensure that water tankers get through to Hospitals and other essential services, but there have been reports that some of that water has been diverted to the houses of ministers.

Just 5 days into the Water Crisis, and people of Mumbai are living in fear. And in thirst. NGO groups are angry, saying they have been warning of this crisis for a long time. Mr Debankar Rao of the Dekho foundation says that if the recommendations of the Infrastructure Committee had been implemented, this crisis could have been averted :

a. Better Water Management, with 30% of Water wasted in leakages etc, and stopping the nexus between the municipal corporations and the water mafia.

b. More equitable distribution of water through a steep rise in water charges beyond certain levels of consumption.

c. Creating employment and education opportunities in rural areas through implementation of the Broadband Connectivity Policy, in order to stem the pressure on population in Mumbai.

A hopeful view of experience: Paani

From Deepak R:

Bijapur,I have lived in this dusty town, fought many college debates on water crisis here,spent many days of my life fetching water and storing it away, taken out protests with the local authorities. In many ways this small historic town has remained unchanged since 100 years. People in reality do not expect water on demand. Supply once in 15days per house has been the norm for the last 60yrs.

The biggest room in most homes here is not to be found within four walls. It is most likely the water reservoir every home builds to store water. People do not waste water here. They know that every mug counts, I knew it. Inspite of the headline, the scarcity of this resource has however not brought the worst out yet. This place churns out the most engineers and doctors in the entire north karnataka, it educates more women than many other regions can dream of, has the only women’s university in that part of the country,it is the second largest region to grow grapes in South India, now also makes some of the finest wines from India. This historic town still grooms the humility and acceptance of Indian culture. The struggle is not a violent one. The silent will of the people to better their situation, that is the struggle. Which side of the struggle does Paani intend to capture. Will Paani speak to people of this town?

The Story of Paani

This came in from Bhaskara :
“Today I was watching a local kannada news channel. There was a news that, people in Bijapur were furious over water supply. The reason was for weeks there was no water supplied to homes. When the public attacked the local water regulation body, they found out that there was water in the tank, but it was being supplied only to influential people like Politicians and Business men. You needed to have political influence to get water in the tap !!”
So this is the story of Paani. 12 years ago when I was trying to get funding for Paani, every one said that I was talking about a fantasy film, that no one would identify with the problem. Today they say I must make the film because it is so relevent.

The Yellow Shirt and Christoph Waltz

Suresh (he, the one that got kissed by Cate Blanchett) laid out my favourite shirt. It’s a yellow shirt that does not fade, and crumples in a way that speaks of casualness and not shabbiness, and it’s so loose that I can slump around anywhere and it will hide my body posture. Plus every time I wear it people say “hey, you look great and so healthy”. As a director I know that is just the bright yellow reflecting on my skin to create an illusion.
So I save this particular shirt for special occasions.
Which it was not today. Just one of those days where I was going to drudge around complaining to myself about not believing in the scene I just wrote for Paani. I did not get goose flesh, I did not shed tears, I did not get angry, so just convinced myself that 50% of all great films too, are just connective tissue between moments of honesty,
So just as I was going to save the yellow shirt for a better occasion, I thought, perhaps it was placed there for a reason ? I mean why did Suresh pick this shirt. What did he know about the events of the day that I did not. Or maybe he did not. Maybe there was a special reason that yellow shirt lay there, staring at me, saying
“you have a Destiny today, wear me and you shall know it”.
Is there an event that calls me, and the yellow shirt a portal to a whole another experience that is already there ? A door that opens every moment in our lives and we either walk through it or not ? Can something as insignificant as the colour of the shirt you wear lead you to an existing experience, or am I causing it by thinking and believing in it. Whichever. I wore the yellow shirt.
No one thought I was looking great. They did not have to. I believed it. Optimism filled the air around me and I smiled. People looked around and thought “why is Shekhar Kapur smiling at us”. I sat and it suddenly came to me. Something I have been wanting to do for long. Very long.
I picked the phone and called my agent and said. I want to speak to Christoph Waltz, the amazing actor that won the Oscar for his performance in ‘Inglorious Basterds’. I must have sounded passionate, the kind of passion that comes from optimism and belief. And so that evening I spoke to Christoph and pitched him Paani. I told him the story and the world of Paani. I told him about the character I wanted him to play. And he said he loved it. And we decided to meet to see how we can work it out etc.
That evening I wrote the troubled scene in Paani. I had a great actor in mind so it suddenly got easier. Reluctantly I took off the shirt and put it the laundry at night. Maybe it will come back through the wash unexpectedly again, and I will walk through another portal !
‘break a blade of grass and you alter the universe” says a Buddhist saying. In this case it was “wear a yellow shirt”

Paani – inspiration vs efficiency in screenplay writing

As I work hard in completing the detailed screenplay for Paani, I come across something that I am sure other creative people suffer from – at least I hope they do. How do you really know if something is really good or not unless at that moment of writing your feel a surge of inspiration – a surge of emotion ? Something inside you that tells you a big ‘yes’.
And how many of those inspired moments do you need in a film both in conceiving it and in the execution of it to make it inspirational for the audience ? For the film to transcend, as it were from prose to poetry ? The problem is that you could wait forever for inspiration – sitting staring out of the window as I am right now. When people ask me why I have made so few films, the real answer is that I trust my heart and not my mind. And to live through the heart all the time can be completely and utterly exhausting, frustrating and ultimately self destructive. So where does one find the balance ?
In just getting on with it. To trust that in disciplining oneself into the mundane everyday process of just being efficient and writing, the inspiration may (and usually does) come and suddenly you are alive, and your eyes blur with tears and your heart beats faster. Your fingers type without you asking them to, and you are inspired !!
Remembering that not every moment in a screenplay can be moments of great inspiration. First you will never finish it, but also you will exhaust your audience’s emotions in the 2 hours they sit in the movie theater. There is the technical aspect of screenplay writing which says that “between great inspirational moments there need to be pauses and connective tissue to ease the viewers mind to the logic of story telling. It is likely that without these pauses the viewer at the end of the film will just go ‘huh ??’
PAANI is a love story based in a City where the Water Wars have broken out between those that have Water and those that do not. At a time when Water has become a weapon of social and economic control.

Who does this planet belong to ?

View of the Church behind the Hotel in Innsbruck where I normally stay. Beautiful as the church is – this is the first time in years the locals recall there being no snow here on Christmas. It’s the same lament all over the Ski slopes too. There has been little snow, and of course the word on every persons lips this year is ‘Global Warming’. And everywhere the feeling in Europe is that the politicians have let us down.
Of course media is playing the blame game. Some blame the US and Obama for not following the Kyoto treaty – while others blame China (and India too) for playing a great game of one upmanship with the US and President Obama. Whatever happened it just showed that the current political system is completely inept at solving any global problem.
Who does the planet belong to ? Surely the fundamental resources belong equally to all beings on this planet – no one can argue that the air belongs to everyone. Every Chinese man woman and child has the same right to the fundamental resources necessary to keep life going as does every Western man woman and child. No more no less.
So why are we looking at Carbon footprints of nations as a whole ? It should be measured per capita, and if so, the whole equation changes. Will the West ever accept that ?

Paani – can the making of fim be a community event ?

Why should a film be just one event ? Is it possible to share the evolution of a film – and create a community around it ? To share my thoughts and those of the others around it so the ultimate experience for the viewer is more personal and involved ?

Copenhagen talks are a complete sham : the wisdom of the prostitutes

In protest the prostitutes of Copenhagen offered free sex to the delegates of the Conference on Climate Change. They knew that nothing else would come off it, so just come and have fun u guys – and since your tax payers paid for all of you to fly down for a sojourn have a few drinks on us too.
What is Copenhagen about ? Posturing ? Politicking ? Individual political profiling ? The whole meaning of the climate conference is lost in meaningless and endless documents and words. The environmental cost of leaders of the world is stunning if nothing comes off it – and it seems nothing will. Meaningless stupidity.
I feel sorry and ashamed that I joined thousands of people around the world to encourage our Prime Minister to go. I did not realize it would have been so easy to subvert the process through such incredible complexity. It is so obvious that not one of the heads of state actually mean what they say.
The planet suffers from over consumption, period. 5 % of the populations consumes 80% of the worlds resources. So we HAVE to learn to live with less. We have to think about everything we do, right from simple things like how much water we expend in a shower, to the environmental cost of packaged food, even to number of clothes we buy, knowing that cotton growing is a hugely water consumptive activity,
We need to reevaluate the way we live.
And yet there is such a contradiction in what we call economic recovery- the so called Stimulus Plans all over the world ! They all work on getting the consumer to go back to consumption levels before the economic meltdown world – wide. The government of the United States is celebrating a a pre – Christmas shopping frenzy in the US as a sign of economic health –
But what about the health of our planet ?

Water Wars again ? Can we turn Bangladesh into a Desert ?

Sir , Now India making a Dam at the river of Barak …Which will cause the North-east part of Bangladesh to become a desert … Would love to know your views about this
For more >
The war Of Water Just been Started By India !!!
A Rahmaniac from Bangladesh