Shekhar Kapur: Want to make the film in parts, like Baahubali

With water scarcity plaguing India, filmmaker Shekhar Kapur revives his decade-old project Paani

It has been almost a decade that the idea of Paani — a dystopian tale set in the future where water scarcity leads to wars — has been haunting Shekhar Kapur. While he appeared to make some headway in 2015 by roping in Sushant Singh Rajput as the lead, the film was subsequently shelved. Cut to the present, Kapur is ready to revive his passion project.

“Recently, upon seeing [the water crisis] in Chennai, those who were to invest in Paani came back to me and said, ‘Let’s make the film now’. What is happening in Chennai today is tragic. So, it’s not just the right time, but also imperative that the movie be made,” says the director, who intends to begin the casting process after wrapping up the web series adaptation of Amitav Ghosh’s Ibis Trilogy.

Paani revolves around the mighty and powerful who exploit the poor in exchange for water. “[My film will depict] what happens when the few water companies become the most powerful entities in the world. Water becomes a weapon of economic, political and social control. [The leaders] will follow the practice of ‘Aap humko vote do, hum aapko paani denge’. I would like to make the film in parts, like Baahubali. We are also toying with the idea of naming the film, Vote Do, Paani Lo.”

Kapur, the brain behind gems including Bandit Queen (1994) and Elizabeth (1998), adds that a digital streaming platform had expressed interest in the venture. “They wanted to make a web series on the subject. But in my opinion, OTT channels like Netflix and Amazon don’t reach all sections of society. Movies are the best way to reach out to the common man.”

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