Renowned filmmakers from the Hindi film fraternity have made short films under National Geographic’s Mission Blue campaign on water conservation, which are now set to hit the web audience. Imtiaz Ali, Hansal Mehta, Madhur Bhandarkar and Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury are amongst the confirmed directors who have taken an initiative to do their bit to conserve.
Swati Mohan, Business Head India, National Geographic and Fox Networks Group said that the water crisis around the world calls for much attention. In India alone, 76 million people lack access to safe water, a problem that is only going to get worse if no immediate action is taken. She is hopeful that this initiative will help enlighten people on what can be achieved by collective action.
Paanipath, Jay Mehta’s directorial debut revolves around a lower class family struggling with water crisis. Tejaswini Kohlapure works as a domestic help and faces immense trial to make water available for her family. The film has been made with the intention to bring forth the urgency and potential tragedy that our continued misuse and neglect of water as a resource can cause.
Hansal Mehta revealed that his son had come up with multiple stories. He had asked him if he wanted to direct it. He feels thankful for the opportunity his son is getting and the fact that Jay has great level of awareness on water conservation and wants to bring it to the world makes it a perfect concoction for Hansal. He is confident about his son, who has been working on his films as his associate. Short films are the most impactful, and reach a global audience says the director who mentored his son’s debut Paanipath written by Hansal himself.
Arif Ali, Imtiaz Ali’s younger brother, has made Paani Panchayat a short film from the Mission Blue series presented by Imtiaz himself.
This film finds its premise in the ‘Paani Panchayat pratha. Quite interestingly, Mahatma Gandhi’s concept of The Panchayat Raj was taken ahead by the father of Ali Brothers, Mansoor Ali. He had incorporated the practice of Paani Panchayat which meant that “the people of the village would themselves hold the control over water, organise it, distribute it, procure it, etc.”
Also a tale on women empowerment, Paani Panchayat is an example of how a tiny organization can lend support to the most powerless section of a village; in this case, women to turn the tide of affairs.
Imtiaz said that environmental causes are much more mainstream than the subjects films are made on. If we can work towards these causes through our medium of film, nothing like it. But, these films should not sound boring, it should feel like we are called in a school and given a lesson. We can pass this message through the medium of entertainment itself reckons Imtiaz who has a personal connect with this cause as his father had spend his life working on water irrigation projects in rural India. He therefore owes his involvement with “Paani Panchayat” to his father. Since he has seen him working in villages and remote places and was brought up realising how important water is in life, he couldn’t miss this opportunity.
Aniruddha Roy Chaudhary, acclaimed for his hugely impactful “Pink” has made a short film titled Baiju Bulli.
A village is suffering from severe drought. The entire population is parched in lack of water. The village sarpanch’s house is the only house with a well that has water. But owing to the existing social structure it of is out of reach of the villagers.
The director has attempted to show the plight of ordinary people struggling to find enough clean water for consumption. While the crisis might not be as apparent in the cities, water conservation is the need of the hour.
explains how water crisis is a worldwide concern. Global warming has altered the course of seasons significantly making them unpredictable. In India, the monsoons have become increasingly sporadic. The effect of a limited monsoon season resonates across cities and villages in India. Villages and small towns in Telangana, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, etc. spend days without sufficient water.
On whether the audience would understand the severity of purpose behind these conservation films he said that any film which is engaging, entertaining and informative people love and hopefully through such films people will understand the message that they want to pass.
Madhur Bhandarkar has mentored Anand Kumar for the final short film titled Ek Balti Paani from the series. He feels irrespective of a film’s length, if the story is good it will make an impact.
Set in an upper middle class home and narrated by Madhur Bhadrakar, the story paints a futuristic scenario where water has become a rare commodity and frugality has attained a new meaning altogether. Manoj Bajpai is back with Anand Kumar after a while with this film.
Farhan Akhtar, the brand ambassador of Mission Blue said that he realised the importance of preserving water eight to nine years back. He feels that Water is a vital issue and the idea is to connect with people globally on this issue through these films on conservation