People should realise and become conscious of the treatment meted out to nature, according to film director Nila Madhab Panda.
The Bollywood director showcased his fiction film "Kaun Kitne Paani Mein" at the 8th edition of the CMS Vatavaran Film Festival, ongoing here. The film, a satire set up in rural India on water crisis talks about the current scenario in the country and how water is set to become a scarce currency unless attempts are made to save and manage it.
"I have been attached to the story because it is the story of my area Kalahandi in Odisha. The area suffered a man-made drought for three decades. It was rain shadow area. We did not store whatever little rain water which used to trickle into our region. For our short sightedness we had to suffer a man-made drought for three decades," Panda said.
The ongoing festival with the theme "Water for Life" with a special focus on conserving the country's water bodies is showcasing the importance of not only storing water but cleaning up rivers in the country.
"The main point is the situation in the country is such whatever rainfall that we are getting or whatever we are doing with the nature it's high time that we must realize and get conscious about it."
"Kalahandi was a zone which you used to produce rice for the entire nation and after the three decades drought the region is back to its old form of production. It is now green.
This means there is some where we were at fault more than the nature. We are corrupt," Panda said The film was released as a main stream Bollywood film in August and has drawn critical acclaim from the film fraternity as well as the audiences. The low budget film has a strong message to give out is a story about two villages, Upri and Bairi.
Upri is a village nestled in the hills, where the economically powerful and higher caste villagers resided.
Bairi on the other hand was situated at the base of hill range and consisted of economically weaker and lower caste people who were farmers. So, a drought hit the area and the power equation changes in the area due to water.
Upri, never worried about water as they had ample workforce from Bairi to get water from far. They had wasted their water resources there by eroding the water table by digging a lot of wells.
Bairi, on the other hand, used water sparingly having realized that it was a critical resource and had planned for water storage, rain harvesting and water table replenishment.
"It's not that by making a film you resolve the problem and give a solution. I just thought that I should give a thought in the minds of people where you finish watching the film but start a new process that what is happening. So that was my thought behind bringing the film into a main stream sort of a cinema and talk about crisis of water," Panda said.
The film cast include actors Saurabh Shukla, Kunal Kapoor, Radhika Apte and Gulshan Grover. Actor Saurabh Shukla who was present at the screening and in an interaction with while members of the audience he said actors must raise their voice and make people aware of various issues plaguing the society.
"People want to hear actors by default, if they like you.
And then, we should choose what we talk about to make the world around you better," Shukla said.
Stressing on the importance of fiction cinema making an impact on the society bit the actor and the director present feel that social messages or awareness can be spread through films like these which not only sheds light on the issue but also entertain people.
"I did not want to showcase it in a serious way or make a documentary. I wanted to do it in a humorous way and after watching it one will laugh but at the same time give oneself a slap. So, this movie is actually a slap on the face of human beings," said Panda.