'The challenge is to release the film'

Growing concerns

'The challenge is to release the film'

Living in an urban space, we take for granted the many utilities that are available to us, just because they are. Water is one of them — the only time we notice its presence is when it’s not running through our taps.

It’s easy to grumble about a dry tap but it’s downright difficult to notice the privilege that comes with every drop.

This discourse on privilege is something that Venkat Bharadwaj addresses in his film ‘A Day In The City’, which was screened recently at the Bengaluru International Film Festival.

The Kannada film examines the water crisis in an urban area, where a hindered water flow can cause a mini-riot. But Venkat brings up the point that even in a City like Bengaluru, water distribution depends on the area so there is no such thing as equality in the situation. He also notes the discriminatory way in which water is funneled to cities.

Talking about the trigger for the film, Venkat says, “Growing up, we had water problems in my area. I’d have to pull water from the wells frequently, and there were times when we’d go without water for days together.” And where did he grow up? “Banashankari.” This was (and is, to this day) a touchy subject for him, which is why he is outspoken when it comes to water consumption.

With these memories imprinted in his mind, Venkat mentions that the film is “a positive take” and no one group or person is blamed for the lack.

“Water is a unique subject and in the film, I show how bureaucrats, politicians and the public work together to put things in place. It sends out a positive message to the public. Today, we are quarreling for water but I show how the problem can be solved. With good officers interacting with the different cities, towns and villages, we can find a solution,” he says.

‘A Day In The City’ isn’t Venkat’s first tryst with the water problem. Five years back, he made a music video album called ‘Pani Ke Rang’ and then ‘Ee Dhareyu’, which deals with environmental problems at large.

“In 2014, I began thinking of an idea for a feature film which would reach out to a large audience. People might not know me now, but 10 years down the line they will remember this film because

it’s a problem that’s going to affect everyone. Now, sitting at home, we don’t realise what a problem it is but things are slowly changing and people are becoming more aware.”

He sounds hopeful although he acknowledges that the rural areas are going to be hit the hardest (they already have been). “When the problem escalates, the ill
effects will show first among the farmers. It will move from the rural to the urban; farmer to the bureaucrat; everyone will be touched. But since urban areas have a
bigger population, it’s more important to make sure they have water. Villages, which are thinly populated, can manage.”

Whatever the case, Venkat doesn’t see the point in taking potshots against the government as, “The public also needs to make an effort. The government has to supply millions of litres, of which a lot is lost or stolen. This has to be addressed at many levels.”

One of the biggest challenges he faced as an independent filmmaker was to release his movie. “It’s easy to make a film and show it to your friends. The challenge is to release the film and get people to watch. As I did everything, from writing to direction and post-production, it is very satisfying when people watch it. It’s not about the profit I make — I’m happy I broke even — it’s about making people think and creating awareness.”

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