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Shekhar Kapur: Don’t think Paani is casting dependent

Updated on: 26 May,2024 06:41 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Upala KBR |

Confident that his ambitious project on water scarcity will attract the right cast, filmmaker Shekhar Kapur on reworking the project with new producers

Shekhar Kapur: Don’t think Paani is casting dependent

Shekhar Kapur. Pic/Getty Images

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Shekhar Kapur: Don’t think Paani is casting dependent

It all began in 2002, when actor and award-winning filmmaker Shekhar Kapur first announced his desire to make Paani, an apocalyptic film on the scarcity of water. Delays in casting and finding a producer kept pushing his plans for the film. Despite all the unforeseen interruptions, the director never lost his desire to make Paani. In fact, with time and added research, the director has managed to develop the script further. After all the waiting, things are finally falling 
into place as Kapur finds a producer to back his ambitious project.

Kapur felt that after What’s Love Got to Do With It, many in Hollywood believed that he had moved back to India, but his research on water issues got a financing company interested. “Paani is now being negotiated as an international film,” he affirmed. In fact, he had recently visited the New York University Abu Dhabi to understand their innovative research on water desalination, wastewater treatment, water security and sustainability. “Everybody has read about my interest in water, as it is such a huge topic now. [The university] invited me to show me all the technology that they have as we are running out of water. Like how to take drinking water out of salt water in the ocean. They are also looking [to clean] brackish or sewage water,” said the actor-director, adding that his fascination with water problems started 15 years ago when he was studying about glaciers drying out. “We always thought air and water were free until one day I came to Mumbai and found people selling cold, drinking water on the streets. The first story I ever wrote was about a man who travelled from a village to Mumbai and returned with stories of selling water. That’s where Paani developed—how some people, in times of water shortage, will be using it to control others. The story is told in a mythic way, with relationships running between them. Paani has a father, mother, brother, sister, long-lost love, daughter, and son—at the centre of it is a love story. Every relationship is connected to water, as is our relationship with love.”

Kapur informs that although Paani was supposed to be shot as a film, his vision could not be summarised in two hours, especially when new information is constantly being added. “We haven’t decided yet whether it should be a feature film or a series. When I narrated it to the [funding company], they said I had enough material for a limited series,” he said, adding, “I don’t think the film is casting dependent. Whoever feels they want to be a part of Paani will come to me naturally.” While the cast is unclear, Kapur had earlier said that he will dedicate the film to Sushant Singh Rajput, who was passionately involved in the project until his untimely death in 2020.

Before Paani, Kapur will wrap up Masoom The Next Generation, a sequel to his 1983 film Masoom.

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