Fahad Mustafa and Deepti Kakkar stayed with their crew in Kanpur for 18 months to witness up to 15-hour power cuts every day for their documentary Katiyabaaz. They have managed to get good recordings of exploding transformers and cables on fire.
The documentary on power theft has recently won the India Gold Best Film award in the Mumbai Film Festival.
Katiyabaaz is not only informative, but dramatic and entertaining. In its opening credits, it states that shockingly, 1.5 billion people in world live with no electricity. 400 million of those are from India.
Fahad, with Kanpur roots, was familiar with the power crisis there. "On returning, I realised nothing had changed," said Fahad.
Power theft accounted for over 30 % of losses to KESCO (Kanpur Electricity Supply Company).
In Kanpur, theft occurred on a daily basis with amateur electricians using a wire (katiya) to connect those without electricity to the power supply to for a small sum. Katiyabaaz tells the story of a local hero called Loha Singh, who is likened to a Robin Hood because he steals power from the rich to distribute it to the poor.
"Originally, we wanted to tell the story from Loha's perspective but once we met with Ritu, the chief of KESCO, who was trying to make a difference and put an end to this dangerous practice, we felt we had to tell the other side of the story as well," Deepti Kakkar revealed during the Q&A after the screening.
Katiyabaaz keeps the balance by showing the clash between the two opposing sides - Loha, the thief and Ritu, the honest officer.
The documentary should be out in theatres in a few months.
Source: The Hindu