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Shekhar Kapur on why projects like Sushant Singh Rajput-starrer Paani fall apart: ‘The ambitions are different’

Filmmaker Shekhar Kapur spoke about why certain films like Paani never saw the light of day. Paani had the late Sushant Singh Rajput attached to star.

By: Entertainment Desk | New Delhi |
January 13, 2022 1:34:39 pm
Sushant Singh Rajput was supposed to star in Shekhar Kapur's Paani. (Photo: Sushant Singh Rajput/Twitter)

Filmmaker Shekhar Kapur offered a philosophical take on why certain projects of his failed to materialise. He was asked in particular about the ambitious film Paani, which had the late Sushant Singh Rajput attached to star since 2013. Paani is said to be set in a not-so-distant future, and tackles themes of climate crisis. John Travolta was approached to co-star at one point.

In a conversation with Film Companion South, the ‘logistical considerations’ of Paani were brought up, as well as its ‘expensive’ budget. Ultimately, the film went unmade, but after Sushant’s death in 2020, Shekhar Kapur said that he will dedicate the film to the late actor, if it ever sees the light of day.

He said in the FC interview, “Moviemaking is like climbing a mountain. When you’re climbing a mountain, you’re roped to other people. If you tug too hard, they’ll fall, or they don’t want to come up with you, they’ll make you fall.”

He continued, “So, select your team very carefully. And it’s not their fault. Not everybody wants to climb Mount Everest. Somebody could have ambitions of wanting to make a really good film with me, but they can say, ‘Hey, I can go to Pali Hill and do it. Why do I need to go all the way to Mount Everest?’ But I want to make the film because I want to go to Mount Everest. Often, that is where the conflict comes. The ambitions are different. It’s nobody’s fault, everybody is doing it for some reason. Only the director, or the composer, or the actor, they might have that ambition to break bounds. The producer can say, ‘I’m fine where I am. I’ll take you to a point, but not beyond that’.”

In a tweet after Sushant’s death, the filmmaker had implied that a similar conflict marred the production of Paani. He’d written, “If you want to journey with the Gods, or your creativity, you have to walk each step in devotion. In humility. God willing #Paani will get made one day. If it does, I will dedicate it to Sushant. But it has to be made with partners that walk in humility, not in arrogance.”

He’d also spoken about how excited Sushant was to work on the project, and that he cried when it was shelved. Paani was being produced by Yash Raj Films, which had Sushant under contract for some time, but he was reportedly displeased with the terms.

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