Happy Holi :”Once they had water to throw at each other”

Those are the first words in the Script for Paani.
The film tells the story of a city divided into two. Those few that can afford water, and those that cannot and have to fight for it. And those that can afford it protect it with armed might.
It tells the story of one year in the life of this city. From one Harvest festival of Holi to the next.
Wherever I go in the world it is the same story. Just been around Rajasthan and that’s what is on everyone’s mind. We are running out of Water. In Africa it is the same. In China it is the same. In Australia it is the same. In California it is the same. And when a city runs out of Water, pipelines are created to bring the water from agricultural areas. Creating huge social unrest because the farmers in that area start running out of water.
So this time as we play Holi, and everyone squirts water at each other, remember we may be the last generation that has the luxury to do that. Unless of course you are rich and selfish enough to use bottled water to do so.
Happy Holi, everyone.

24 thoughts on “Happy Holi :”Once they had water to throw at each other”

  1. Shekhar, what type of Happy Holi is this? I get a sinking feeling in my stomach reading it. Or that is what you intended to do?

  2. I wish this holi was really happy but happy holi non the less.
    Here are two important books on the issue of Paani:
    1.Blue covenant:Global water crisis and the coming battle for the right of water.by Maude Barlow
    2.Blue Gold:the fight to stop the corporate theft of the world’s water.by Tony clarke and Maude Barlow

  3. Wonderful and thoughtful!
    But Shekhar Bhai, please do not write more on ‘Paani’ I remember you’ve already put the premise a year back and some updates…I fear too much of expectations will kill the the film

  4. revive old water harvesting systems like pnds and wells, then evry body can efford to play holi with water:)

  5. In addition to the loss of this precious resource called Paani, do we realise what goes behind the Pre Colours night – the bonfire?
    My social research threw up this startling fact – the burning of fuelwood is not another serious environmental problem. A study done in the state of Gujarat reveals that each bonfire uses around 100 kg of wood, and considering that approximately 30,000 bonfires are lit in the state of Gujarat alone on Holi night this leads to a staggering amount of wood loss.
    Maybe we need to find an alternative material to burn instead of good wood? and maybe resort to a dry Holi instead of a wet one?

  6. if we run out of water…we run out of us, since we are most made up of water.
    may the joy of holi be with you…
    om shanti shanti shanti

  7. oh this was nice thought…
    happy holi SK
    Paani is ur next movie or already an existing one?
    (i have been a reader for sometime now but commenting only today)

  8. Save PAANI,
    Play Holy without water.
    March 7, 2009
    Historic Day for Sunnyvale
    Sunnyvale Hindu Temple had fun filled Holi.
    Ads clearly stated DRY COLORS, NO WATER GUNS
    and its implemented.
    Event was covered, promoted by leading Bay Area media and joined by other organizations, details
    Slow economy didn’t slow people to enjoy a day
    Various City Council members, Sunnyvale Mayor Tony, enjoyed day of colors and left with cherished memories with a wish to attend more events with Indo American community …
    We wish PAANI will be a success to educate the world

  9. i love holi with or without water. what matters is color and fun with friends and family.
    i missss it soooooo much in USA

  10. Shekhar… the first line itself is stunning. I am touched. I want to contribute (if you deem fit – the ball is in your court)… in refining the script of PAANI… I have this curse for writing encrypted in my DNA. I dont seek name either. I dont seek anything…. but i want / i appreciate when MEDIA is used as a tool (soft power) to underline HUMANE values. This is a tool that must be used to fight evil., to the utmost. We have to continue to fight against the wrongs… until the end… and never give up. Literature / Writing / Films / Songs / Painting / Arts are all the tools (soft power) that empower such a struggle. Jai Ho.

  11. Hi Sir,
    I want your office telephone number or your office address. I want to visit your office. Thanks.

  12. Dear Shekhar,
    Here’s an artical from a global entertainment magazine published on 10 March 2011.
    PAANI-the multi billion dollar grossing futuristic blockbuster made by Shekhar Kapur.Winner of 10 Oscars.
    For the first time a director has brought togather a film which works on many levels and tries to understand the most important issues of our times from everybody’s point of view.A film which does not have one protagonist but ‘humanity’ in all its colours, shapes, sizes and classes as the protagonist.
    Mr.Kapur who was earlier thought to have a one sided approach while villifying the rich and providing conspiracy theories for the poor has brought a new vision to Cinema this time.He has shown the reality as it is. Within that reality how a part of the society free from dogma,shackles of religion,and intellectual hinderences makes good for itself from the natural resources available on the planet.And how the other who stick to rigid stances or fatalism automatically drift away towards destruction and famine.
    Its an alarming bell for both the rich and the poor.To the rich it says that make provisions for the poor and facilitate them for crossing over so that the poor don’t turn violent and brute and don’t give rise to diseases beyond measure.To the poor it asks to dream and educate themselves to the prosperous possibilities, for being rich or poor is not a given but how you make it be or let it be.
    The great team Mr.Shekhar’s epic has been able to gather for its soundtrack,for visual effects,for editing and costume and the cast and the finances he’s been able to avail for this milestone film only go onto show that this is a true 21st Century film which was destined to be. A film which takes up issues concerning the human condition from all aspects without tempring with reality.It builds a convincing future just by extrapolating the present reality, that if the philosophy of ‘greed is good’ continues without any social safeguards where it would eventually lead to .Within that realistic context it raises an awareness for each part of the international community/society to mull over the questions raised.A film which without being didactic urges them for finding inner solutions to collective problems.Not trying to forge guilt for a certain part of humanity but a concern to sustain the most precious resources of our planet for generations to come by exploring all possibilities.

  13. PAANI
    After building the divide of upper city and lower city we have a situation of a rich couple living in a penthouse on the 100th flour of a 7 star hotel.
    At night while taking shower in a colorful jaccuzi with sixteen shower point shower system in a transparent bathroom the woman can’t help taking her eyes off the lights below at the ground where a few kms long que has been standing from early morning to get a cup of water each to drink.
    Suddenly the couple who are passing through a tough spiritual phase(mid-age crisis or an existential crisis etc) while having every possible material comfort decide/conclude to live from the heart.They decide to adopt one slum child(like Angila jolie and Brad have done) to let him have all that they have and grow to know how they got there and then later on do something for his own lot.
    It will be interesting to weave this part of the story.Your desire to have made film on buddhist philosophy on a new yorker rather than buddha the folk tale could fructify here.
    Then the poor can be shown that if they take better diet, dream more,aspire more, take agressively to education, be more assertive,more entrepreneural,with a little bit of luck they can cross from the servant side of the street to the boss side.And then having their say in the rich society make political changes to have a few lesser jacuuzi showers and baths and pools and let more water for the poor flow freely or on very very nominal price for sensible use.
    While the rich get a spiritual dividend out of it.More love. More at-home-with-the-universe feeling. Less anxiety.Better natural health etc.
    (ofcourse lot of film making masala, innuendos, humour, music, visual special effects will detail the actual script.This is just a philosophical take.)
    PS. Even today when power cuts are imposed I sometimes feel happy that kids leave their TVs and we all get more time to just idlly
    sit in the garden away from all electrical and electronic things watching birds and butterflies and enjoying spring.

  14. . Emerald green waters of the Sarsa river . Fields of wheat.,as far as the eye sees. Sun beams dancing on them.Showering their gold dust,transforming their winter green skins.
    Barely visible today, a ribbon of a country road , cutting through these fields.On it,bicycles, bullock carts,tractors, trawlers, ‘Juggads’,.bus’s loaded upto the roof tops with people. It seems no one is going to be left behind.Yes, there are some cars too. Crazily zigzagging through this ocean of humanity are the bike riders-the youth of PUNJAB.Their machines vary from Royal Enfield 3.5 bullets to Hero Hondas,Yamaha ,and some odd Bajaj scooters.Everyone’s destination -Anandpur Sahib to witness HOLLA MOHALLA,.
    Every village enroute has a “Langgar”.The elders of the village standing on the road, with folded hands and saffron flags inviting all travelers to partake of this prasada.Over the speakers in the warmest Punjabi dialect “ Veerji, aao,garam, garam prasada chakkho….Bhenon tusi vee aao….”as this voice fades away, the tents of the next langgar of the adjoining village appear and the same inviting words echo again.Some stop, others passby folding their hands in gratitude.No one on this road is going hungry today.Not surprising, are the absence of food bags and water bottles.The only baggage are “GATTHRAS” ,for which there are signs in places “Gatthra Ghar” in case you need to deposit them safely.
    i too am amidst my fellow millions on this journey today to Anandpur Sahib. The energy here is so humbling, earthy,and,spiritual.The communal festivals if rightly interpreted and celebrated in their true spirit will sensitise us to protect our environment.I stand tall as an Indian.Happy holi.

  15. Dear Ganga,
    Although I do not belong to any particular religion,I have many a time thought deeply about the concept of ‘gattrahs’ in practising sikhs.
    Remind you punjabis live nearest to the AK-47 yielding Taliban and in history have had to sacrifice maximum blood even after the great wisdoms of Baba Nanak(16th Century) became centuries old.
    And then its one of the greatest responsibilities to have a weapon and not indulge in violence.I wonder even more for Taliban for whom its a regular social feature.
    But then we also have general people all over the world getting licensed arms and in west many school kids misuse them and create blunders.
    Here I thought are sikhs with those small personal little daggers which need no license and are quite handy in many uses.And most of all this way they are confident to move about anywhere without fear and take no nonsense from anybody bent on misbehaving.

  16. Hi Shekhar,
    The Concept is Good ! But, I personally feel that you are going a bit ” Below the Belt ”

  17. Dear Harijim,
    Yes,a Kirpan – along with the other K’s KANGA,KARADA,KACCHA and KIRPAN.All four ensure that one understands the truth and meaning of having a weapon and not use it irreseponsibly.This is my understanding.

  18. My friend “Harijim” is taking so much space on this blog… on almost every entry… that it is discouraging me from reading / writing on this blog. He is monopolising this blog., just the way Lata-Asha monopolised the Hindi Film Music. Its too much… Such long comments… Does he write them.. or does he.. cut and ….. ? I respect Harijim’s freedom of expression but it has gone overboard … to the extent that is discouraging others from exercising theirs.

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