Paani pictures

WATER EXPORT - 054.jpg
Sharing with all of you one of the pictures I took of the Dharavi slums in Mumbai slums during my visual research for Paani.

21 thoughts on “Paani pictures

  1. Shekhar,
    When i discussed Paani with my friends there were so many questions raised. Since most of them are British and from other european countries i needed to explain to them about the water crisis in India and mainly how water is supplied in tankers to various areas,the cost behind it and the rest …. then i expained about paani.I dont want to bombard you with all the questions but some were very interesting… and in the end i invited everyone to participate in this blog because there were some questions only you can answer…
    1)Rupert who works as a 1st AD asked me “Why futuristic Mumbai? Placing the characters and narrating the story in present time mumbai can have a wider reach and can bring more realism to the film…” He quoted City Of God narrated from ther slums of Rio.
    2)David Canelo from spain who worked with me as a DOP in my first short asked a basic and good question… Is the film in anyway going show a solution for this problem and a message to people how to save water.
    3) My question is(general)..what about building something like desalination plants (reverse osmosis) across our country to get fresh water. (eg.Tampa Bay Seawater Desalination Plant, Florida & Shoaiba Desalination Plant)? We spent nearly 20% of our budget on Defence… this can be one of the solutions…
    Rest i will ask them to participate in Paani’s discussion…

  2. Dear Shekhar,
    I am very interested in your idea of a futuristic movie on water shortage.
    In Southern Italy, every Summer on TV you saw the images of trucks transporting water to little towns in the mountains–journalists would discuss the outrageous situation, that never changed (at least not until 20 years ago when I left the country). A similar situation existed in the 1800s, if I remember well from short stories of Verga, and in Verga’s time, there were no means and technology to understand and rectify the problem. 20 years ago, I felt there was a strong suspicion that the problem was not geographic but political–Mafia or Camorra channelling public money into other, more profitable goals to them.
    I do not know about the situation in Paani–a very sad picture you showed us. Could the problem be resolved? Are there some political reasons for which it is not addressed? I hope I am not offending anyone; I apologise for my ignorance.
    About the shortage of water now, in the USA, I have friends who drink only bottled water; others have all sorts of filters applied to their faucets (I also filter my water). Last Summer, we were told not to drink water from the faucet for two weeks because of a mistake in the public purification system (?). I think we all share a subconscious fear that something else might be wrong with the water one day. So, yes, I think your idea might be well received here as well.
    About the actual story of your movie–can you give us some hints?
    The only film I remember about shortage of water is the French 1980s series Jean de Florette and Manon des Sources–very intense drama (reverse Oedipal tragedy)but addressing the problem of a small secluted community in France–a problem caused by human greed, not natural disaster.

  3. This may not be relevant in any way to your post however, am sharing this with you because against the stark, dark reality of paani/water, is there not even a tiny ray of hope which can awaken those who end up watching the movie.?
    A small locality in India has overcome the problem of water shortage, by planning and coordinating.
    Drinking water is released by the local water body everyday for an hour or two in this particular locality and some days they just ‘forget’. The residents were quite fed up with the erratic schedule so they decided to invest in syntex tanks.
    As soon as municipal water was released, the person in charge(turn basis) would first fill drinking water in a syntex tank and then release water to each floor for 5-7 minutes. The logic being the pressure of water would suffice for people living in each floor to store drinking water for a day and sometimes two. On the odd day when the drinking water taps run dry, the syntex tank water is used (again care is taken that water is not stored for more than two days).
    These residents have managed to circumvent the problem successfully until now. And for those really dry days, the locality pools money and buys drinking water in tankers for 250-300 bucks/tanker. A nice breather for those who woke up everyday at 4:00 a.m in the morning waiting to hear the sound of water drip from the tap.

  4. the picture reminded me of an earlier thought you had posted about the structure of great stories resting on co-incidences. i guess this is one more.
    ‘water water everywhere but not a drop to drink’

  5. Reshma : interestingly it made me think of the very same – the picture is tinged with irony.
    It also made me think of Venice – how did that city evolve ? – was it also at the centre of some kind of dispute / corruption etc – after all, it became a symbol of a class of people (the rich) who were separated from the common herd physically, in an artificial, man-made environment.

  6. riya, u are right. Better and a fairer system of Water Management will quite a long way in solving the problem in India and elsewhere. As will the reducing Global Warming which will stop melting our glaciers. Pity isn’t it ? Whatever they say about the coming ‘future’ greenhouse effect china and India will have, the truth is consumption in the US has to a large effect contributed to global warming and therefore the melting of our glaciers.
    Coming back to the point, not polluting out rivers will help a long way. Atleast it will stop killing people from water diseases.
    But we are heading to a time when there will just not be enough water to satisfy the basic human need of everyone on our planet. What do we do then ? That’s when water resources will begin to be privatized and sold to only thos ethat can afford it, and then what do we do ?
    In Delhi, as supply dwindled, people put in water pumps. Now Delhi water table is below 200 feet. It used to be 30 feet not so long ago.
    The distillation of sea water expends such an amount of energy. That in itself is a problem, and yes perhaps solar energy could be used to distill water to make it drinkable. Water catchment areas in each home community can be set up.
    The only technology that right now that seems optimistic is Nanotechnology, where nanofilters are composed of particles smaller than salt molecules and so merely passing water through them distills it.
    But time is passing by quickly. We are used to droughts in rural areas, but in my film I am looking at a drought in an urban area where the concentration of people is mindboggling,
    Incidentally my story does has hope at the end.

  7. Hi Shekhar
    First of all let me congratulate you on your wonderful website. It contains some very interesting and funny topics.
    I just wanted to drop by and say Hi to you, as I am what you could say a “blast from the past”. Let me take you back in time…..around 14 years back….in Juhu, you are sitting in an office waiting to be called for a meeting regarding the film Barsaat. I bump into you there, as I was also there for an audition, and your words to me were “you should not be doing a 2-bit role in this film, you are too good for this. You should be the main hero in a film”. I still remember those words today and laugh to myself. I wonder if you have remembered who I am yet? Well to refresh your memory my name is Sanjay Malhotra.
    You even took the video cassettes of my TV serial to watch at home. Shekhar it was very nice to come across your site like this. I enjoyed reading your stories – especially your encounter with the US Immigration (that made me chuckle) and the old Juhu days.
    Well the latest with me is that I am now married in your hometown (London) and am currently in the USA. I am still working hard at making films, 14 years later!! As you know full well, this is an uphill struggle all the way, and nothing is served on a silver platter to you. I believe that films cannot be made with money but true passion. Only that gives life to a film.
    I have just completed a film called “Chath – A Roof Without Walls”. You can check out the trailer on the website here
    Please also have a look at my other work which is posted on the internet here and also my website
    It was very nice to read your views, and I hope you are keeping well. I look forward to hearing from you very soon.
    Take care
    Sanjay Malhotra

  8. Hi Shekhar,
    Sorry to be offtopic but comments are the only means to reach you I understand. I represent Indibloggies, India’s first blog award site.
    Blogging is gradually becoming the talk of the town In India. The number of Indibloggers is steadily on the rise and talking about the numbers while we are still far off from the Chinese count of 6 Million plus bloggers, we are only better off than, Brunei perhaps. This worldwide phenomenon may still be in a nascent stage here and there might be an upper skew as well, since the average blogistani comes probably from an affluent background with good “connectivity”. Yet, in a country where bijli, sadak and paani almost always collide with the dreams of bringing Technology to everyone, there are now so many blogs you would surely need some device to calculate the numbers.
    At Indibloggies we have an annual feature, run in January as a prelude to the show, a short thought-series called “Hum Blogistani!” where various bloggers would do a guest-post for the Indibloggies with their views about the Indi-blogosphere, evoking its journey so far, probably doing the SWOT analysis and predicting the road-ahead.
    Would you be able to spare some time and pen your thoughts? We would be greatful if you could do.
    Please send us your writeup at

  9. dude…
    as you said in some earlier blog- Bombay- smell of dreams and sweat of 15 million people…i recalled it after seeing the snap.
    i talked to a friend of mine who is into administration. he has done extensive research on Tribal communities in India. He said yes…water is going to be major urban problem in the future. i will collect some authentic information and will post it here…
    but there is one interesting group of scientists all over the world who think Global warming is not going to happen. if at all there are some signs, those are usual changes which any way happen in the weather. i will collect some information about their thoughts too. if you already have this information please post it here.
    take care…lots of love…tata…kedar…

  10. Hey Shekhar,
    To me as Riya said, hundreds of gallons of water can be saved with effective water management. Science will eventually come up with solutions too…but question is – how much time will it take to educate people about saving water…
    There will be only few movies that provoke thoughts in peoples minds. May your movie educate your audience them to educate people around them (i don’t mean your movie should be preachy)

  11. Shekhar: My first thought when I saw the photo – what is that? Oh! my God (feeling rather silly at this point) It is the slums! People live there. They spend all their lives there. Yes a futuristic film is very important rather than something based on “going on/current” dilemma with a didactic approach. Creativity is one aspect which gives us an opportunity to approach things from outside the box. Through this method (particularly the approach of going into the future adn looking back) you can tackle issues a better view point. You can show what can happen if things don’t change which will also highlight the urgency of the matter. You can also show how some of their approaches work and how some fail.
    Looking forward to more on Paani.

  12. Shekhar,
    I appreciate your vision on Paani. One day Fresh Water is going to be a major global issue. I have lived in Rajsthan, Kerela, Maharashtra & Gujarat/Dadra Nagar Haveli before moving to Australia & everywhere fresh water was a big concern. In Rajsthan tap used to run for a couple of hours once in 4 days and at other places it was damn difficult to get the fresh water & most of the time we were buying driking water. Even in Australia, there are recent news of water policing in Melbourne. I am currently living in Tasmania and can not drink the water in the taps, its yelloish in colour initially it was very difficult for me & my family to get adjusted to the color of water for washing & taking bath. Now we’ve got used to the color, but I still get big bottles filled up from the nearby creek & boil it before drinking.
    Would be really interesting to see how do you tell the tale of Paani.

  13. I was discussing Paani with some friends, and one of the Oz said… Mate, thats why I drink beer all the time, to conserve water….

  14. Hi! Mr. Kapur,
    Interesting to read new developments on Paani. I dont know what the exact plot is. But the water shortage scenario – the way you will show very much depends – when your movie takes place? Is it set in the future or in current times? If it is set in the future – you probably are planning to set the film in a technologically advanced environment – at least in terms of infrastructure.
    Its funny – when I first read about Panni, I myself started thinking a lot about this issue and wrote down some things for a concept for a movie etc – I just like to do that. If it is set in the future – and if you are going to show that people will have to pay for the water, it will be intersting to show cities like Mumbai that sit on the coast.
    In my opinion in the not very distant future water levels will rise and thats when cities like Mumbai will face problems. I had ideas of where Mumbai is set 100’s of feet above current ground level in the future to escape high water levels – and the old parts of the city submerged – while poor people still living in the lower parts of the city. And the richer people live higher up. Due to climate changes, Mumbai is hit by severe storms every now and then etc. Kind of like Fritz Lang’s Metropolis – where the people underground run the city.
    Of course, this will required good amount of CGI work and I have yet to see good films that use good CGI in Indian cinema.
    I am really looking forward to see how you bring the script together – as this effect possibly would be felt around the world – how will you reveal this global problem in the film without CGI etc and how will India be in the future – would certainly require lot of thinking. If you do use CGI – then how will you balance the narrative in terms of real imagery and CGI – how does this related to the Indian audience and how does the story work from the point of views of characters. Like the new War of the Worlds (Speilberg version) where he focuses around a single family and the events unfold around them – was quite a fresh way to tell the story of an overdone genre.
    This hasnt been overdone in India or abroad mostly. So its pretty new and I am really looking forward to see how you will bring these elements together. I understand from reading a lot of stuff on this site that you are also deeply into technology etc. It will be great to see your informed and mature vision come to life in this new movie in a time when movies like Krrish and Dhom are being made in India – which have many elemts and plots taken from multiple movies.
    Since I am a film composer – I will also be looking forward to see what kind of a score you will employ!
    Good luck and keep us posted!

  15. Sir,
    I like your movies very much but of late you are not directing any film why?I watched your latest interview on TV and i have a small request(i don’t know if its fair or not) i wish you direct a film with shahrukh khan and aishwarya rai.Ofcourse as a director you know better about casting, it was just my wish to see them in your films.All the best for your future projects.

  16. Dear Shekhar,
    Thankx for portraying the reality….but still there is a hope if we make people aware.
    Jindagi ke panno par, ek satya kahani,
    charon aur hain pathar, kahan gaya paani?
    pyase hoonth, sooni aakhen, kya yahi hai zindagani?
    Nahin…ek aasha ki hai kiran…
    subah savere, doob par padi aus se poocho,
    haste hueh kahegi apni ajab kahani

  17. Shekhar,
    First of all I have a complaint to make; that you come up with such a brilliant idea bringng hope to the millions of film lovers and suddenly drop everything and start a new paper work. I hope that will not be the case with Paani.
    ‘Paani’ is a film which is kind of need of the hour. Its an issue which goes beyond boundaries. Its truly said that such a story can take place anywhere in the world – need not be Mumbai. In south Indian states of Karnataka and Tamilnad, we have seen people fighting for a river from centuries. Which shows that this issue is timeless aswell.
    In your recent interview to NDTV ( Shekhar kapur unedited ) You have shed some light on the plot of the film. Which I thought was very very interesting. Concepts like sun light being not accessible to the slum dwellers due to the stacks of fly-overs; Classes of people with their banking of water; and water stealing are thrilling. Romeo-Juliet adaptation on the back drop of futuristic – yet loaded with burning age-old issues – is simply superb.
    Water is a material after all. History has seen many wars just to achieve supremacy over some materials. Whether it was gold, spice, petroleum or the tomorrow’s war over water; it is the selfish human nature which is working behind all.
    ‘Paani’ should deliver a strong message if not an answer to this problem.

  18. sir ,
    If you are able make the movie “Paani” in animation,this will have bigger audiance of different age groups and the message will be conveyed in a more convincing way,and the art works in virgin comics have shown the futuristic india and visulisers can do .So if Panni can be made in animation,i feel there wont be any limitation for your creativity and visualization to make Panni india’s first true sci-fic animation pic in indian film industry and more over this willbe the begining of world class animation in India .I feel only thing we lack is Directors like you to start the initative and i know of your initative with virgin comics ,but still we need directors with an outlook to lead our film industry to the world of Animation and if the movie is Panni then the whole world will be watching india .Hunuman was good but still they played it safe in the animation part .
    just a thought

  19. perverted race, preachers of inhumanity, most untruthfull human race on this planet, with most dangerous cult, hinduism.
    Most perverted preachers, indias indifferent rich, barbarians, rats prays god for more wealth.
    Marvadies, brahmins, Politicians, shit police, all will end up in slums of hell specially made for most hindus, liers.

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