Paani – will Water turn against us ?

We have forgotten how to worship water. After all if water is available to you on tap, and in the same place as you do your daily toilette , how could you even respect it ? Water to us has become functional – so we have started to take it for granted. It is now our right to have water running in our taps at our will and our command. But it never used to be like that and I assure you it will never be like that again. Nor was it supposed to be. We were supposed to go to water, not the other way round. In all of human history Water has been worshipped by every culture. Water was the centre of all community, of all existence. But now we pollute it, commercialize it, turn it for profit. We do everything but worship it. So Water is turning against us. That which nourished the very essence of life will soon teach us to value very drop we can find. Worship every drop.

26 thoughts on “Paani – will Water turn against us ?

  1. Dear Shekhar,
    A few months back I went to one of the best gastro-enterologist in NY for a casual acidity visit. I asked him what kind of water I should drink to stay safe, and he said – “drink from the tap like I do.” In NYC which has one of the best water systems in the world, I can do that, but in many other parts of the world where the water from the taps is not so potable, I can’t.
    In ancient times people used to drink from wells or rivers or fresh water ponds and the water there was very clean and they had no issues. Now the water systems are totally strained and majority of poor people can’t get any good quality water. Besides that, the lack of strict rules by civic authorities and general lack of civic sense in people has led to the pollution of rivers and lakes at an alarming rate – some water is so untreatable that it just can’t be consumed.
    Water is life and some people do care about it, but for others like any free commodity it has to be exploited. Just like America exploits gasoline – many researches have concluded that even after all the price hikes gas remains very cheap and affordable to most Americans, so they go ahead and exploit it – which has effects on the total world oil reserves/prices as well as the environment.
    Water will only be valued when the masses that have access to good quality water start feeling the pinch i.e. either have to pay for daily water or are told that they’ll only get it for so many hours. If the need becomes extreme they’ll start worshipping it as well, but in the commercial world we live in almost all drinkable water will be commercialized before that state arrives – as the rich will buy it for any price.
    What water does to us is based on what we do to water – we can’t leave the planet, so it is our responsibility to handle it carefully, to worship it as our life giver, value it everyday and secure it not only for our future but for generations to come.
    Best Regards,

  2. PAANI – Worship every drop. Because in 2025, every drop will count!
    How’s that for a Promo Tag line for your movie, Shekhar? 😉 I like it.
    PS : Is the final draft ready? Heard you were location hunting in Mumbai…..whats the latest?

  3. Dude, I got another one! Listen to this.
    PAANI – Worship every drop. Because in 2025, Water will be your only God!

  4. i think until you have children, its all about you and your lifetime and you dont really care what is gonna happen to this world after you die. if i am honest with myself, i dont give much thought to issues like the enviroment, climate change and water. then if i close my eyes and image myself in 15 years time as a mother, all those problems suddenly look a lot more immediate to me. i begin to suspect i wouldn’t probably like to leave my child in a dark place.. is it perhaps that all humans beings are selfish? that we love our kids mostly because they are extentions of ourselves? i will tell u in 15 years !

  5. Hey
    If we ignore Tibet problem then definitely water would be crisis in India in few years time. remember two of our sacred rivers flow originate in Tibet. We should be stop being foolish and tell China enough is enough.

  6. “Whisky is for drinking, water is for fighting over,” Mark Twain once said.
    I am writing my next novel with a theme of water scarcity in India and the threatened local wars that result.
    Why? Water is the world’s ultimate fugitive resource. Two in ever five people in the world live in river and lake basins that span one or more international borders. The same underground aquifers span continents, not only countries.
    We developed countries (I’m in Australia, which is in the midst of the worst drought since European settlement) worry too much about energy security. Unlike oil, water has no known substitutes. We must value water like LIQUID GOLD. And speaking of my nation, and it’s thirst for oil, we would all do well to consider the following from a source that we too often lambast: the Koran:
    “By means of water,” says the Koran, “we give life to everything.”

  7. I could just recollect the lesson which i learnt in my school, Water-Elixir of Life…
    My stay in Chennai for two years made me to think that water is a matter to politicalize, commercialize and not sacred as it was in the history, a blend in the life and activities of a society.
    Great civilizations started around water and seem civilizations ruin due to the scarcity of water.

  8. Just Finished watching Anjali Rao interviewing SK on CNN in ‘Talk Asia’. It was an interesting watch.(Usual, as the name Shekhar Kapur was involved with it. )
    No doubt, ‘Worship every drop’ must be the slogan of india in near future.

  9. Hi Shekhar,
    Glad that poeple are getting aware of the Mammoth Water crisis which is already happening in verious parts of the world.
    every now & then poeple have been writing about it in print media… However, not many poeple have given a thought to it… even if they have… it was for a moment & then moved on… the abuse continues… suprisingly today poeple have to be shouted at to be heard seriously… or they ll just ignore you… a Knowledgeable & FAMOUS person like you will be heard for sure… BUT, whether it will have a positive effect.. not sure about it… as poeple have a tendency to do every thing to the hilt untill there own existence is under threat… i feel, Now there is no scape from the futur crisis… coz we have already done enough damage to our mother earth… & like a parasite, we have sucked every possible resource earth offered… & in return we havent given anything back to it… it is such an irony, that in Business, when we take something from someone, we give something in return… but when it comes to mother earth… we have only taken… in short we like it or not…. we are in for a disaster for sure… the only question is WHEN?
    Shekhar, your Film could be a great source for making poeple aware of the crisis… a sensitive person like you will do a great job of it…
    (Wonder, what a masala film maker from Bollywood make a film on this subject… May be he ll call it ‘Pani ke liye jaan se maar dunga’ hahahha)
    Anyway, i am sure Shekhar will do full justice to the film on this Crisis without diluting the subject….

  10. Director sir,
    I just saw your great interview on CNN Talk Asia with Anjali Rao. Very good chat. Your new film about future water problems sound very important, and you are right, this will be an international hit. Can’t wait to see it here in Taiwan.
    Question sir. For your next movie, after this one, what about a mythical story, since you love myths, about polar cities for future survivors of global warming, who in year 2500 must take refuge in northern settlements of Canada, Norway, Russia and Alaska, in order for the human species to breed in breeding pairs, a la James Lovelock’s idea? Can you think on this and get back to me. WOuld like to work on movie idea with u. And Barry.

  11. It is sad but true that we rarely respect the most important requirements for human survival on this planet, water, air and the sun.We cannot survive without either of them.But again that is human nature,what ever is accessible or available freely is never revered by humans
    Water has been commercialised like any other necessity by us.
    With time and our dependence on materialistic comforts we have always tried to find the easy way of survival,Strangely most in cities have started buying water which is a relatively new phenomenon as I do not recollect seeing mineral water bottles barely 25 years back when people used to still drink from good old ‘Surahis’
    While the financially well of buy water there are still thousands who walk miles for a couple of buckets of water and all this in the same country…..
    Why water only?, do we respect the air we breathe, do we respect the place we live in, in our yearning for materialistic comforts we have long forgotten the respect and cherish what we have and what is the basic reason for our existence.
    Strange we do not understand the urgency of the crisis, they same brain which does not is made of 90 percent water.

    Worship every drop. 2025, Water is your ONLY God!
    Can we help save our beautiful planet
    Now is the only time to act
    A child dies every 15 seconds from easily preventable water-related diseases.
    Water constitutes 2/3 of the human body.
    About 70 percent of the Earth’s surface is water-covered.
    In the United States in 2000, we used about 323 billion gallons per day of surface water and about 84.5 billion gallons per day of ground water.
    Earth’s approximate water volume (the total water supply of the world) is 1 360 000 000 km³ (326 000 000 mi³).
    Civilization has historically flourished around rivers and major waterways; Mesopotamia, the so-called cradle of civilization, was situated between the major rivers Tigris and Euphrates; the ancient society of the Egyptians depended entirely upon the Nile. Large metropolises like Rotterdam, London, Montreal, Paris, New York City, Shanghai, Tokyo, Chicago, and Hong Kong owe their success in part to their easy accessibility via water and the resultant expansion of trade. Islands with safe water ports, like Singapore, have flourished for the same reason. In places such as North Africa and the Middle East, where water is more scarce, access to clean drinking water was and is a major factor in human development.

  13. Writing again…Following is published information from factbox…if we seek Truth from these facts then we will regret if we ignore Tibet problem now…just like we regret aksai chin accession by Chini…Please read…As water become scarce, China will cut us off from two of our rivers…Brahmputra and Indus…
    — Tibet is dubbed ‘Asia’s Water Tower’. The Qinghai-Tibet Plateau is a crucial water source and store for China, whose unevenly distributed water resources are said to be in crisis.
    — Tibet’s glaciers and snow-fed highlands feed Asia’s great rivers, the Brahmaputra, Mekong, Yangtze, Indus, Yellow and Salween.
    — Mineral water from the plateau has become one of the region’s first commercially tapped resources since the Qinghai-Lhasa railway cut transportation costs in 2006.

  14. Hi, your artical NOW WATER WILL TURN AGAINST US ( DNA March 23rd Sunday ) prompted me to offer this information …I m running ONE MAN NGO to conserve water. My approach is simple.
    So if u correct a leaking tap u save atleast a 1000 liters of water. In our first year 2007, International Water Year, DROP DEAD team (a plumber & a female helper)has:
    Our service is absolutely free.
    Any one who worships water can launch this water conservation project in his/her area & it doesn’t require big funding or a posh office. For details please visit our web or contact us on

  15. Director sir,
    An interview in a Russian paper today with a Russian scientist says this: re WATER and India
    and remember: email me about my polar city movie idea!
    Q: The atmosphere can’t warm enough to completely thaw Greenland’s and Antarctica’s glaciers, so we shouldn’t be worried that the sea level will rise dramatically.
    A: Greenland’s and Antarctica’s glaciers aren’t thawing as much as they’re breaking off. As the climate becomes warmer, the surface ice thaws, and the melted water travels down the fractures to the glacier’s bottom. The water acts like a lubricant, which helps enormous glacial chunks to slip into the ocean where they quickly thaw.
    This is why scientists estimate that the sea level will increase almost one meter in the 21st Century; consequently, there are several possible models of what may transpire.
    *Worst case scenario, or even in an average case scenario, cities like Shanghai, Calcutta, Amsterdam and Saint Petersburg will be either flooded or only exist with the use of high dams. In this case, however, the ground water level will increase and the cities’ structural foundations will have to be rebuilt.

  16. dude, Hows PAANI shaping up?
    its really tough to write that kind of script…
    location hunting? well…is it possible to shoot that kind of film on real locations…or you are hunting locations so that based on that art direction department would create futuristic sets and then there is CG too…!

  17. How about banning Holi, sounds radical but I think it is nothing but waste of water…
    We could be a culture that 20 years down the lane could probably say, we changed and now we celebrate Holi without wasting water…and now ‘this’ is our culture…
    In the end, what is culture? It is sometheing you, me and all of us collectively make, it is nothing static, it is always evolving and dynamic…even as I write and you read…

  18. This reminds me.My grandma,my maaji,never took a bath without draping a small white muslin cloth over her private areas .Sne would say water is a ‘Devata’ and to bathe without this would be “Niradar”{disrespect} to God.I grew up with this and the ritual of bathing itself became a worship AND water was not to be wasted.
    Next time you are bathing, try it.Hold this imaginery piece of my granma’s muslin and capture the journey of the water from it’s source, to your tap.You will turn your bath into a beautiful meditation and honour water..

  19. Dear Shekhar,
    Just read that you will be directing Larklight for warner brothers. It came as a pleasant surprise since you didnt mention about it here on your blog.
    But, we, the privileged readers of your blog, have become very possessive of late and would have wanted to be the first to know about it. 🙂
    Congratulations and all the best.

  20. aabid surti, thank you so much for who your are. I wish there were more people like you in this world. Keep in touch with us and keep inspiring us. shekhar

  21. Director Kapur
    This AP story in the news today is related to PAANI and helps set the stage for when your movie comes out worldwide:
    Danny Bloom, watching in Taiwan….
    U.N. seeks solutions to stresses on water
    DELFT, Netherlands — It’s not only our carbon footprint we should worry about. Experts are looking for solutions to our growing water footprint, as urban populations explode and the demand for biofuels adds stress on water for farmland.
    Nearly half the people on Earth, about 2.5 billion, have no access to sanitation, many of them in urban slums. The world’s cities are growing by 1 million people a week, and soon their aging water systems will not cope.
    “What we are doing now can’t keep up with the issues we already have,” says Carol A. Howe, an expert working for a UNESCO-led water development project called Switch.
    “Something needs to change. It needs to change quickly, and it needs to be fairly dramatic,” she told a symposium of journalists Wednesday.
    The threat of climate change has drawn attention to carbon footprints, the amount of greenhouse gases produced by human activity. Now scientists have begun calculating a water footprint, the amount of water needed to produce goods or services.
    A report published this month by UNESCO-IHE, the Institute for Water Education in Delft, says it takes 70-400 times as much water to create energy from biofuels as it does from fossil fuels.
    It said the production of crude oil requires slightly more than one cubic meter of water for one unit of energy, compared with 61 cubic meters to grow biomass in Brazil — mostly sugar used for ethanol — for the same amount of energy. The water footprint of biomass grown in the Netherlands is 24 cubic meters, the report said.
    Engineers are experimenting in a dozen cities from Lima to Beijing to find ways to ease the pressure on water resources.
    The pilot projects, run by the U.N. Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization and funded by the European Union, range from turning rooftops into gardens, capturing and recycling rain, recharging underground water reservoirs with waste water, and swapping traditional flush sanitation for dry toilets.
    The English city of Birmingham is monitoring the effects of green roofs to reduce flooding during storms, to cut energy needs and to study how to capture run-off to reduce water needs in the buildings or surrounding areas, Howe said.
    A project in Tel Aviv, Israel, channels treated waste water into the aquifer through the natural filtering system of the soil, and is testing whether it can be reused for drinking water, she said.
    Gary Amy, a professor of urban water supply and sanitation with UNESCO-IHE, said the United Nations is almost certain to miss its 2015 goal of halving the percentage of the world’s population who lack adequate sanitation. The goal takes 1990 as the base level.
    Accounting for population growth, some 500,000 new people every day would have to be connected to a sanitation system to meet the U.N. target, he said.
    Waterless toilets, using either chemicals or composting, are being tested in Ghana, Kenya, Peru, Egypt and elsewhere. They also enhance the possibility of separating human waste, using liquid waste as a rich source of nutrients for crops, Amy said.
    “If we captured all the urine in Africa, it could match all the nitrogen and phosphates used for agriculture,” he said.
    Howe said standard mechanisms consume about 25 percent of all residential water — drinking water that is literally flushed down the toilet. “It takes a lot of energy and money to bring in the water, to treat it, to put into the toilet, to treat it again, and to put it into the river system,” she said.

  22. Dear Shekhar, coming from Kerala, a house with lots of land around, wells, streams, river next door, I worked in Chennai, Mumbai, Hyderabad and recently shifted base to Delhi. The highrises vying for space even in the sky, the rationed water supply in summer, suffocate me. An avid travel freak, I used to take pix like the ones you have put up here…am really happy to see them. Coming from the ad industry, I want to see some rocking promo work done for Paani, it deserves it, you deserve it. Here is best of regards for your work. Meantime, please tell me what you think of the write up and pix on Love and regards,

  23. Dear Mr. Shekhar Kapur,
    I’m grateful that you choose this subject for your next film. I would like to suggest you pls make time and watch ‘Dombivali Fast’ a Marathi regional movie as it expresses some issues related to water. The daily struggle of middle-class that is actually already happening as of today in 21st century. I’m suggesting it because pls don’t forget below flyover and above fly-over there is one more class and that is middle class. As you are in Mumbai now, maybe visit Dombivali and other suburbs. I liked what Medha has mentioned above. If we have ‘Tap inspectors’ and ‘reliable plumbers’ and ‘water meters’ that counts every drop and make us pay for it, we could save a lot of water. Pls screen it at schools and colleges when your film is made. And pls make it in Hindi as well as in English so that all generations from all over the country (and of course world) can understand it.

  24. I saw a doco on how thw Hindus in Bali till today worship water and share their water with the whole community. It been happening for hundreds of years. It was heartning to see, something for us all to learn!!

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