CTORS: Kunal Kapoor, Radhika Apte, Saurabh Shukla and Gulshan Grover
Director: Nila Madhab Panda
Duration: 1 hour 52 minutes
Kolkata Shows: PVR Cinemax- Mani Square Mall (11.30 am, 4.40 pm), Inox- Quest Mall (9 am, 7.55 pm), PVR Howrah (11.40 am, 4.55 pm)
Kaun Kitne Paani Mein is a comedy woven around an ever-growing scarcity of water, which is affecting a vast part of India’s hinterland.
The story revolves around two fictional villages in Odisha that are rivals to each other for ages.
Upri (village of the upper caste) is headed by an all-omnipotent zamindar Raja Braj Kishore Sing Deo (played by Saurabh Shukla); Bairi (village of the lower caste) is led by Kharu Pehelwan (played by Gulshan Grover).
The villages have a history of gruesome inter-caste violence that goes back three decades.
The film portrays water as a currency and challenges the very caste inequality of which Upri and Bairi have been a victim. The movie tells about the importance of sustainable development by directing attention to the crisis of Indian agriculture because of water scarcity.
Director Panda presents this otherwise serious topic by punching it with a window of romance between Raj Kishore Sing Deo (Kunal Kapoor) and Paro (Radhika Apte). The on-screen innocence portrayed in the eyes of Kunal and Radhika brings forth the essence of Indian villagers.
NTERESTINGLY , Kunal is the son of the zamindar and Radhika happens to be the daughter of the Pehelwan. And in the role of the zamindar, Saurabh Shukla marks his excellence.
Agar har youn sambandh ka anth shaadi hota to tumhari maa eklouti raani naa hoti (if every physical encounter was to end up in marriage, then your mother wouldn’t have been my only queen), he tells his son (Kunal Kapoor) so to pursue him into a fake relationship with Pehelwan’s daughter played by Radhika.
He does this to grab the water meant for Bairi village but without the knowledge that Kunal has fallen for Radhika in reality.
The character of Gulshan Grover is grossly underplayed and does not make justice to an actor of his stature. His character in the movie is at best a role supporting that of Radhika and Kunal.
There are some interesting characters that keep the flow of satire in the movie: a priest who grows marijuana in the backyard of a temple or a sex-worker who offers her service in lieu of a pouch of water.
Scenes the ones where a boy holds a placard that proclaims village for sale or zamindar Sourav Sukla trying to fix his artificial moustache are satires at their best.
The music director has done a good experiment in using the popular Samvalpuri song Rangabati to produce a typical Bollywood song with peppy Hindi lyrics.
The screenplay is a little incoherent, and yet the director has succeeded in leaving his mark by his satirical way of storytelling.
(Subhrajeet Ganguly is an independent video-editor based in Kolkata)