Community short films highlight water issues

June 19, 2017 12:32 am | Updated 12:32 am IST

Mumbai: A series of short films made by Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) Community Media diploma students and Pani Haq Samiti, a city-based water advocacy group, aim to highlight the shortage of water in settlements in Mumbai.

The films are made entirely by community members, largely on mobile phones. “We don’t even call our students the filmmakers; the community members are the filmmakers. Our students just help,” said Faiz Ullah, assistant professor at the School of Media and Cultural Studies at TISS. “These films address the problem of water. In 2014, the Bombay High Court declared that every citizen has the right to water. These films explore that issue.”

Saroja Devi, who lives in a settlement near Maharashtra Nagar Road, Mankhurd, says though she receives very little water, it takes up a lot of her time. “Our biggest problem is water,” she said. She gets between one or two containers of water a day from nearby slums, and has to travel for up to three hours every morning to do so.

The film she is involved in, Piyo Aur Peene Do , along with two others, Paani Bin and Paani ka Haq , will be showcased on the Pani Haq Samiti’s YouTube channel and Facebook page. “Many people are not even aware of the problems of access to water that exist in the country, and we hope these films will help in spreading the word. We intend to use them as advocacy tools and to spread awareness,” said Sitaram Shelar, convenor, Pani Haq Samiti. “We hope that the films help people understand our plight. We have been living for ten years or so without regular water supply. Nobody has done anything. Maybe now, somebody will take notice,” said Maharashtra Nagar resident Fatima Bi Sheikh, who helped make Paani Bin .

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