Final Films

Ganga Ke Do Kinare

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Located on the southern bank of the Ganga, Patna, the capital of Bihar, is emerging as a ‘smart’ city with a massive influx of modern infrastructure. Close to the city are the riverine islands of Ganga, known as the Diaras, which contrary to the city, struggle to access the basic infrastructure to meet their everyday essential needs. The film focuses on the Diaras and their unique relationship with the Ganga and highlights the contrast between life at two opposing ends of the same river— Diaras and Patna. It shows how the development of permanent concrete structures on the river edge directly threatens floods in low-lying areas like the Diaras. Hence, the film questions the infrastructure-heavy development that most cities are witnessing, their disastrous impacts on the fragile natural environment and how Diaras can pave the way for a more ecological and harmonious form of development.

अख्खा दिन, अख्खी रात – All day and all of the night

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The film is about the relationship that a 13 yr old girl shares with water while living next to Ahmedabad’s largest landfill. This poorly planned area has contaminated borewell water and a poor water distribution network. We explore the struggles of procuring clean drinking water, especially during the monsoons when the rainwater running through the landfill drowns their low-lying houses.

नावाडी (Boat rider)

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This film is a story of a “Navadi ” named Sadashiv Ambi, who is a boat rider and rescues people trapped in floods in Kolhapur and Sangli of Maharashtra. Along with Ambi navidi’s individual story, the film talks about how unplanned urban areas are making cities flood prone. Every year water reaches the interior of the city, damaging the already crumbling infrastructure of the city. The once prosperous princely state built on the vision of Shahu Maharaj, is now on the edge of extinction because of man made disaster coupled with climate change. 

दगड आणि पाणी – Rock and water

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Dagad ani Paani aims to address the real and metaphorical invisibility of groundwater – one of the first difficulties in understanding and managing the biggest resource of freshwater available to us. We imagined the film to emerge from an enabling process that reduces the distance between art/research & its social relevance/applications. After discussions with Rajula Shah – our mentor – we conducted workshops on groundwater with children from two different contexts of caste (and class).

With children we shared current research work being conducted on groundwater and children asked us questions that really gave a direction to our reflections and the filming process. Through observations, drawings and questions children reflected on social disparities and conflicts that they encountered.

Dr. Himanshu Kulkarni, a leading scientist, generously adds to what one of the children says about illegal pumping of groundwater. We stayed with troubling questions that children pose, the questions point to the anxieties that they are growing up with.

The Many Journeys of Water

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The journey of water doesn’t end at the toilet when you flush it. The journey of ‘wastewater’ or sewage, as it is now known, begins here. This is a story about the wastewater of a town in Tamil Nadu, which, perhaps, is the story of wastewater across many Indian towns, and the lessons we can, perhaps, learn.

66% of Tamil Nadu relies on septic tanks to store their wastewater, which needs emptying, or desludging periodically. This is done mostly by private entrepreneurs, known as desludging operators. We follow two women, Parameshwari and Aravalli, who are desludging entrepreneurs in Tiruchirapalli.

These subterranean, out-of-sight aspects of water are mostly outside the consciousness of society, but are essential for the smooth running of our cities and towns. Thanks to this invisibilization, conversations about sanitation are not mainstreamed. The film is an attempt to make visible these hidden stories.

Pipe Dream

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Pipe Dream is a film about Jai Mati, a resident of an informal settlement in Mumbai, and his work navigating the complex process of applying for a water connection with the city authority.  Home to nearly 1000 people, Siddharth Nagar does not have access to the city’s official water. Residents buy water from shops, transport containers from employers’ houses, and hire private water tankers to fulfil their water needs.

Owing to the overwhelming and intimidating nature of the process, many residents have accepted this reality and hold no hope for a legal water connection which in many ways is tied to ideas of citizenship, belonging, and legality. Since 2015, Jai Mati has painstakingly collected documentation, met with authorities, dealt with internal politics, educated himself and other residents on the constitutional remedies and dedicated himself to the goal of obtaining legal water.

The Bhavi Project

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The ‘Bhavi project’ documents the changing narrative of open wells as physical systems of water storage and their association with communities. The film is developed on a fundamental premise, ‘What is the future of cities without open wells?’ and the same is enquired through the lens of Vaddar community. It builds an enquiry towards sustenance of open wells and its impact on the well digging profession.

The narrative is envisioned as-

  • Wisdom and history: Establishing the well digging community, their association with wells and communities in the pasts
  • Soil and sweat: The process of understanding the complex ground water system and its construction in public and private spaces.
  • The slow death: The ground water system is under continuous pressure and exploitation in terms of contamination, increase in borewells and excessive pumping.
  • Making the invisible, visible: Water in open wells is visible and hence is looked after. The film is a lens through the lens of these traditional systems in today’s ever changing context. How do we safeguard the ground water systems and its people?

This can contribute to restoring the ground water levels and also support the well digging profession.   

শিলসাঁকোৰ উদং বুকু – Remember Silsako

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Silsako is a wetland on the outskirts of Guwahati, Assam that has been dwindling in size because of haphazard development activities over the past few decades. The wetland in picture has been providing various sources of livelihoods for the people and many of them are still dependent on this resource.

With eviction drives that displace people and their homes, it also displaces hopes and aspirations. Climate change and mindless human activities surrounding the beel has reduced the life of this wetland.

It has once again ignited the debate, whether development should take precedence over ecology and environment. Silsako evokes a poignant memory and this film is an attempt to revisit a space that will determine the future of the city.


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Kosasthalaiyar is Chennai’s largest river running through the northern corridor of the Metropolitan City, sprawling over 7000 acres. People living along the river stretch share a strong bond with water and the ecosystems sustained by it.  Ennore – Pulicat wetlands, The Ennore Creek and the Kosasthalaiyar River are natural shock absorbers that mitigate flooding during rains or tidal surges, check salinity. They are key problem solvers to Chennai’s water management and flood control.  

The intervention of Government & private industrial ambitions on the ecological corridor of Ennore has created an environmental crime scene depleting the existing natural fabric. Adani’s proposed port expansion will further cripple the region, completely destroying the remains of every river based and coastal ecosystem that’s leftover. The film explores the tale of the Kosasthalai river –narrated by Kumaresan, a native fisherman, voicing for the land, the people, its flora and fauna.

The Chaviwallahs of Mumbai

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The film attempts to construct a hydraulic portrait of Mumbai, a city steeped in a dense network of piped politics. The film looks at the water distribution system in Mumbai and the various people or factors that determine where the water flows in the city and who receives it. Prodding at a cardinal question who are the gatekeepers in an otherwise centralised water distribution system in Mumbai.  

Shortlisted Entries

Moving Mountains

Moving Mountains centres around issues of dependency, recharge and social-ecological realities shaped by groundwater. It will also dwell on the consequences of coupling land rights with water rights. It aims to explore what this does to disparity in distribution as well as recharge.


Antarjala is about Bengaluru’s changing relationship with water has been a story of urban growth, and also one of intimate change in a community’s relationship with water. The proposal aims to dive into understanding ‘scarcity’ as more than just a natural phenomenon, but also a socially mediated political process.


Navadi is the story of a boat rider who rescues hundreds of people trapped in the flood every year in Kolhapur. The proposal explores the evident reasons of flood as unplanned urbanization and lack of disaster management response.

पानी का खेल (Waiting)

पानी का खेल (Waiting) seeks to represent water access issues in Mumbai as more than just that. It depicts the all-consuming process of obtaining an official water connection as a resident of an informal settlement, and through that, raises questions of legitimacy, right, and belonging.

फासले (So far, So close)

फासले (So far, So close) charts instances of disparities in distribution attempting to make palpable, its far reaching consequences. It also aims to unravel the contradiction of distances associated with the ‘urban organism’ – which demands being fed with people & resources from far & wide.

डूबती ईंटे (Sinking Bricks)

डूबती ईंटे (Sinking Bricks) looks at a family living in a small brick house, surrounded with water on all sides during the rains. This water contains wastewater and industrial waste from the colonies, garbage and rain water which all gets stagnant here. The proposal is about the daily struggle of this family and the many people living here.

நீ ரின்றி அமையாது (Nothing without Water)

நீ ரின்றி அமையாது (Nothing without Water) looks at how water is the most essential component that sustains human life. But we’ve come a long way from thriving around a river’s existence to disrespecting its presence and contributions. This proposal narrates the story of exploitation of Ennore’s rich Creek and Kosasthalaiyar river due to excess encroachments and discharges by government and private industrial ambitions.

শিলসাঁকোৰ উদং বুকু (Remember Xilxaku)

শিলসাঁকোৰ উদং বুকু (Remember Xilxaku) is about the ecosystem of Xilxaku Beel, an important wetland in Guwahati is being destroyed to make an artificial concrete eco-park. I met the fairy of the Beel, Jol Kuwori, who was crying helplessly beside her destroyed home.

The Chaviwallahs of Mumbai

The Chaviwallahs of Mumbai looks to explore the idea of what makes water move in this city. Who has access to it and who doesn’t. While the keymen control the flow of water by opening and closing of valves, who are the real chaviwallah’s that influence the flow of water in this city.

Bombay Hotel

Bombay Hotel explores the relationship that children of the Bombay Hotel area in Ahmedabad share with water and its accessibility while living next to the city’s largest garbage site.

The Bhavi Project

The Bhavi Project documents open wells as traditional water systems and their changing needs, through the lens of Vaddars, the traditional well-digger community in Bengaluru city. Through engrained stories, the film builds an inquiry towards the sustenance of these open wells and their adaptation to cater to increasing water needs and changing lifestyles.


Aragol looks at the life of the migrant artisanal coracle fishing community whose economies and livelihood solely depend on the Cochin estuary. It will illustrate the paradoxical relationship the community has with the city and its water body.

Bypassing Diaras

Bypassing Diaras attempts to document the unique relationship between the residents of Diara and the river Ganga in Patna. Diaras are riverine islands formed between the natural levees of the river as a result of silt deposition. In recent years, there has been a massive push toward infrastructure building, particularly projects concerned with urban mobility. But Diaras continue to face mobility challenges due to annual flooding and exclusionary planning.

The Many Journeys of Water

The Many Journeys of Water is an exploration of the many journeys of water—from fresh to black and grey waters—and the journey of a few women who are intrinsically linked to this journey of water.