Fenil and Bollywood

Shekhar Kapur’s Paani finally flags off

Posted on: December 16, 2009

Shekhar’s Paani is ready to roll in Spain

By Subhash K Jha (MUMBAI MIRROR; December 16, 2009)


Shekhar Kapoor flew into Chennai earlier this month to record his first song for Paani, officially flagging off his first feature film undertaking since the sequel to Elizabeth two years ago.

Says Shekhar, “Paani is now completely on. We start shooting in April 2010. We’re at a pre-visualisation stage. And I needed Rahman’s song for that. Since it is located in a futuristic city, I’ve artistes in Los Angeles, Singapore and India creating my city.”

While the film is set in futuristic Mumbai, Shekhar plans to shoot in Spain. “I’ve had a big offer from Spain to shoot the film in their country. They too are fascinated by the water theme. It’s a massive project. Otherwise it wouldn’t interest me.”

The film will star newcomers in the lead. Says Shekhar, “The girl has to be a 17-year old French-Canadian who lives in the Upper City (the posh area) of  Mumbai. And the young Indian boy is a desi Leonardo DiCaprio who’s a water revolutionary.”

The film is a forbidden love story. “The girl’s father is the global head of a water company. We need another girl, a smouldering entertainer like Shakira, who’s a big star in the Upper and the Lower City. Then there’s an Oracle called Amma.”

Shekhar will cast the hero from India while the girl will be cast internationally. He swears he hasn’t decided a single member of the vast cast as yet. “You know I had planned whole schedules of Elizabeth and I hadn’t found the actress to play the lead. And since Elizabeth wasn’t cast, no one else was. The studios were getting frantic with worry. We tested a hundred actresses. I wasn’t the least worried. I knew I’d find my Elizabeth. I saw two shots of Cate Blanchett in a film no one had seen and I decided on her. The most difficult actor to cast was Richard Attenborough. Likewise I’m not worried about Paani.”

The spoken language of Paani would be English. But there will be a dubbed Hindi version. “Even the characters of the Lower City would be speaking English. Slumdog Millionaire has proved that language is no barrier. Even though all the Indians spoke English, the language didn’t come in the way of credible self-expression. I will have a dubbed Hindi version too.”

Paani will be readied in time for the Venice Film Festival in 2011.

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