Imagine 10 billion people picking up a glass of water at the same time and drinking it. While the world does not have a population of 10 billion yet, in a few years time it is expected to reach that mark and may well be facing a water crises. Director Sanjeev Chatterjee’s film, One Water, highlights the problems that will face the world when the supply of fresh water dries up.
The film, which won the Eco Vision 2007 award in Palermo earlier this year, highlights the problems faced by nations due to contamination or lack of water. The film highlights the importance of water in the world, and the contradictions between nations that lack basic supply of clean water and the ones that don’t lack. “The idea for the film evolved from a speech made at the UN which declared that if the 20th Century wars were fought over oil, the 21st Century wars will be fought over clean water. That made us think about the condition of fresh water supply in the water,” says Chatterjee, who screened the film at Gorky Sadan on Friday.
The film, which took him five years to make, however is not the first film to be made by Chatterjee, who is also the Vice Dean of the School of Communication at the University of Miami. The Hindu College alumni who has made films like Pure Chutney, Bittersweet and Dirty Laundry on the Indian diaspora, made his first documentary on water for Doordarshan two decades ago. For One Water, he travelled across India, Bangladesh, China, Japan, Turkey, Denmark and the US, for the film journeys from the high mountains where the only source of livelihood is transporting slabs of ice to the nearby towns, to the lowland villages of the Sunderbans where people suffer from arsenic poisoning. It shows the difference in attitudes among cultures where water is found in abundance and where people need to travel for miles to get a pitcher of water. This contrast is especially seen in the desert regions of Rajasthan and Las Vegas. While the latter has abundant water supplies, every drop is precious in the former.
“The film is an effort to make people realise what is going to happen to us fresh water supply runs out. There is already talk of privatisation of water resources, so what is going to happen to the poor if that happens?” Chatterjee asks.