"I plead guilty for not focussing on Paani for two years. I got busy with another film and selling my tech and social media company. But I will wrap it up this year,” promises Shekhar Kapur. The filmmaker released a DVD of Irena Salina’s movie, Flow, on Wednesday. The informative and provocative documentary highlights many African villages that survive on potentially toxic water, out of sheer necessity. It holds corporate and government figures responsible for the crisis and shows how grass-root organisations work to fight the increasing privatisation of water.
Shekhar’s Paani also has its roots in the water crisis, which in the last 15 years has escalated due to over-consumption and misuse.
“Do you know that every pair of jeans you buy uses 6,000 litres of water to be made?” he asks, adding that the water mafia, which sells this natural resource in the black market, is already operational in cities like Mumbai. “This will eventually lead to the city splitting into two worlds, which is what Paani is about,” he adds.
The director plans to shoot the film on lavish sets and live locations in Singapore. “Hrithik is the only actor I’ve discussed the project with. If he gives me his dates, I will do it with him in a jiffy, but he’s so busy. We need to have a long conversation soon,” says Shekhar, who is currently looking for and hoping to get Indian funding for the film, so he can take it to the Oscars.
“Slumdog Millionaire (2008) used India, but not its money, so the Oscar went to the British,” he reasons, sighing that in recent years we haven’t made films whose appeal go beyond that of the Indian diaspora.
Hence, no Indian film has found favour with the Academy since Lagaan (2001) was nominated in 2002.
Prod Shekhar on this year’s Oscar winners and he says, “The Artist (2011) was a great film, but the best movie of last year was A Separation (2011). The Iranian film bagged the Oscar in the Best Foreign Language category, but given that we had French, Iranian and Pakistani entries; in fact there were filmmakers and artistes from all over the world competing for the top honours, the Academy should just do away with this category and bring all foreign language films into the mainstream sections.”