Friday, August 22, 2014


Rating : 5/10
Release Date : 22nd August, 2014
Time : 84 minutes
Director: Deepti Kakkar, Fahad Mustafa; Writer : Fahad Mustafa;

So, this is a documentary. Had walked in thinking it was a movie. It articulates well, a problem faced in many Indian cities, especially in Kanpur, where it is set. Of power theft, loss-making government owned electricity companies, populist politicians determined to milk the situation, get elected, be arrogant, misbehave, sincere bureaucrats (there are a few) trying to improve the system and the titular character, a katiyabaaz, someone who actually makes his living by fiddling the wires to do the theft.

The battle lines are quite clearly drawn. It’s the Katiyabaaz, Loha Singh, Kanpur’s best wire guy vs the Power Supply Corporation, symbolized by its new IAS director, Mrs Ritu Maheshwari vs the Politician, Irfan Solanki, who’s only interested in playing to the gallery of onlookers. Its quite a vicious cycle too – there are few paying customers, so the transformers are of a certain capacity, but thanks to the rampant theft, they burn out, leading to more grief to the irate public, most of whom are non-paying but that doesn’t dampen their belligerence. And then there is the other issue of power supply / generation itself being well short of the demand.

The milieu is well captured, the technique of using interviews interspersed with the events in Kanpur is nicely done. The dangers Loha Singh goes through everytime he climbs a ladder to fix a wire, as do other citizens when wires burn, transformers short circuit, are brought to life nicely. After a while though, you wish the film would move faster, even go somewhere. Its quite repetitive in parts.

Everytime you visit certain parts of UP, especially places like Kanpur, apart from certain malls (and in Lucknow, the grotesque, overpriced parks) it seems like time has stood still… everything looks the same, the same filth, overcrowded lanes, overflowing sewers, the lawlessness and the burgeoning population. And of course the electricity issue. This documentary, in fact, doesn’t get into the powerful generator lobby and their machinations to keep the populace starved of the government supply. In any case, the film paints a dark picture, pun intended, of how things are… and are likely to remain for a very long time !


Anonymous said...

The problem actually persists.. Peak summers and no electricity for two days.. This, at the time when there were no inverters.. If you ring up the officials, nobody takes your call. If by fluke you are lucky enough, then some vague reply 'madam peeche se problem hai, pata nahi kab light aayegi'... This inspite of Panki Power Station (a major one) ..that the city boosts of.. About time something is done.. Alarming disparity between the haves and the have-nots. The richie rich have 24×7 power back up, with big gen-sets on their roof tops nowadays..

Anonymous said...

If sighs could power electricity, mine would have lit up all of Lucknow-Kanpur...

Anonymous said...

Wishing you dearest of all writer, a very illuminated Diwali. May your light sparkle as always.. Lotsaaaaa luvvvvvv.

Anonymous said...

Dating is a give and take. If you only see it as 'taking', you are not getting it... :)