One of India's eminent filmmakers, Shekar Kapur, born in Lahore, now lives and works in Bombay. His second film, Mr India, brought him popular success, the story of an orphan taking on a heinous villain. Told with a certain freshness and simplicity, it broke through a certain jaded Bollywood stereotype to become a cult classic. But it was 'Bandit Queen', his honest, brutal film about the dacoit Phoolan Devi that brought him international success. Subsequent Hollywood films, like 'Elizabeth' saw a humanistic portrayal of the monarch, even as he documented the historic.
Kapur's films have always stayed close to the ground in their portrayals, an understanding of the feeling behind situations and the actions of men. His in-production film, Paani (Water) is apt for its times. Water touches all in India, from the suicidal farmers, whose crops depend on rain, to the rich in urban towers, whose showers are powered with it. The scarcity, the waste, the privatisation of a basic commodity, is a current, urgent worry. Paani is awaited, to see what Kapur brings to the screen again.