New Delhi: Save water, save lives! Yes, this is what ‘Kaun Kitne Paani Mein’ tells us. Director Nila Madhab Panda, who made his directorial debut with the critically acclaimed movie ‘I Am Kalam’, took a satirical approach to address social issues like water crisis and Casteism. Just as satires do, this movie tells us a dark story in an entertaining manner.
Saving water to save our future generations is the need of the hour. Madhab manages to send across this message very well with the help of brilliant performances by actors in lead roles, good screenplay and apt picturisation. ‘Kaun Kitne Paani Mein’ is a story about two villages in Odisha, Upri and Bairi. Nestled in the hills is Upri, the village of upper castes and at the base is Bairi, where people of lower castes live and survive by working in Upri.
Radhika Apte is refreshing in her role as the agriculture enthusiast Paro. She is educated, but belongs to the poor class. Her father Kharu, a wrestler played by Gulshan Grover, is the arch enemy of the king of Upri. Saurabh Shukla does a brilliant job as the poor king (Braj Singh Deo) of Upri, who is penniless, but still egoistic. His punch lines, now and then, act as a fresh breath of air amidst politics, poverty and crisis.
Kunal Kapoor comes back after ‘Luv Suv Tey Chicken Khurana’ with the same charm. He is the Prince Raj, the savior of Upri village. Though in close proximity, the two villages are poles apart. The story begins with the age-old saga of the rich exploiting the poor. Upri was a village with stupendous power and great economic status. Bairi was economically weak, but a dedicated lot.
The people of Upri lived a grand life and splurged all their resources. With the turn of events, a wall was built between the two villages and the upper castes abandoned the villagers of Bairi. The love story of a young girl from Upri and a young man from Bairi ends with their deaths.
The people of Bairi are devastated as their source of income came from employment in Upri. But the village survives as the villagers are wise and have knowledge of farming, harvesting, building wells and water reservoirs. After a few years, a drought hits the area and changes the power equation. And the reason is water. Years of callousness has left Upri barren and infertile.
On the other hand, Bairi had lived frugally and used water sparingly. They had all the means of rain water, rain harvesting and water reservoirs. After thirty years, another love story between Raj and Paro saves the villagers of Upri. At the end of the day, it is a Bollywood drama set in the backdrop of love, politics, plots and the right amount of music and dance.