Long power cuts are a common feature across India. And this is what inspired the debut documentary of the Delhi-based filmmaker duo,Fahad Mustafa and Deepti Kakkar. Powerless (in Hindi titled,Katiyabaaz) is set in Kanpur where 15-hour power outages are a daily occurrence. This paralyses life as most industries and businesses cannot operate, says Mustafa,over phone from New York. The film was the only Indian entry in the World Documentary Section of the Tribeca Film Festival,New York,along with 12 other entries.
The 80-minute documentary revolves around the protagonist,Loha Singh,an electrician,who supplies electricity to his clients by joining wires of those who pay the bills. The documentary captures the risks he takes for a paltry sum. Rather than focusing on the nexus of power and the politics behind it,we are focusing on the human element. It is about a man risking his life to provide power to everyone, says Mustafa,28,who spent few years of his childhood in Kanpur,before moving to Austria and settling down in New Delhi. We chose Kanpur because we are familiar with the town, says Kakkar,27. In 2012,they set up their production house Globalistan Films. For this film,they received funding from nine countries through various international films funds. Powerless premiered at the Berlin Film Festival in February,the next stop is Belgium,and thereafter,the Barcelona Film Festival.