Kaun Kitney Paani Mein: Parched for entertainment

If the success of a film is inversely proportional to the number of times you look at your watch while you are viewing it, then Kaun Kitney Paani Mein is probably a failure. But given the film’s noble intentions, which addresses perhaps the most important issue of them all — water scarcity — it’s still a movie that must be watched, even if with a bit of patience.

Set in Odisha (a novel location for a Hindi film), KKPM is about two villages — Upri and Bairi. Upri is a place where even bribes are paid in the form of water packets, after gross mismanagement by the village’s rulers (the Singh Deos) leads to a widespread drought. Here, even something as basic as using the restroom needs much forethought owing to water shortage.

Bairi, on the other hand, is prospering after years of hard work and judicious water conversation. It started off as a village of the oppressed, lacking any resources, but has now become the envy of Upri, after successfully turning around barren lands into lush fields of green.

The two villages also have their respective figureheads: Kharu Pehalwan (Gulshan Grover), the people’s leader and aspiring MLA from Bairi, and Braj Singh Deo (an in-form Saurabh Shukla), the King of Upri. So what happens when their children, both educated and with a modern outlook, fall in love? Will it further the divide between the two villages or bring them closer? Intertwined in this love story are a bunch of interesting sub-plots, my favourite being the one about a greedy weaver who is digging a well right from Upri to Bairi using all his young children as workers. There’s even a pot-smoking temple priest who uses all the water he saves to water his plants, who he calls his children.

While these make the film mildly enjoyable, it’s the acting, especially by the supportive cast, that makes the film a tiresome watch. With the exception of Saurabh Shukla, most of the other actors don’t seem to have the prowess to add that caricaturish quality required to make satire fun. What can you say when even the 111-minute run time feels exhausting?

Kaun Kitney Paani Mein could have been great as a short film, but is a bit too stretched as a feature.

Genre: Satire
Director: Nila Madhab Panda
Cast: Kunal Kapoor, Radhika Apte, Saurabh Shukla, Gulshan Grover
Storyline: When water becomes currency

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Printable version | May 16, 2021 12:26:24 AM |

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