Floodgates finally open for Kapur's 'Water'

VIDEO: Director secures $30 mil for film about end of water

Related: Kapur plays Russian Roulette with 'Paani'

CANNES -- Shekhar Kapur will direct "Paani" (Water) from a script by David Farr, having secured the $30 million budget from Swarovski Entertainment and Adlabs founder-turned-producer Manmohan Shetty.

The project idea has occupied Kapur's mind for 10 years and, after pressure from fellow filmmaker Danny Boyle and Shetty's insistence that "he gets on and makes it before it's too late," Kapur plans to shoot in November with additional backing from Walk Water in Singapore, Dubai and on large purpose-built sets being designed by John Myrhe.

Boyle will get a producer credit of some kind for his efforts, Kapur said and the project also marks the first full-length feature backed by Swarovski's start-up entertainment arm.

A.R. Rahman has written two original songs for the project, Kapur said.

The project is a love story set in a mega city in a future where precious H2O has all but run out and corporations go to war over its control. The city is divided into two conflicting halves, in which the upper city hoards all the water and drip feeds the slums of the lower city. A girl from the upper tier meets a water rat boy and falls in love against this backdrop.

Swarovski backed the project after Kapur wrote and directed short film "Passage" in Buenos Aires last year as its first project. Kapur said he plans to make the $30 million budget look like $150 million and will aim to seal a negative pickup studio deal with the aim of ensuring the finished film is seen by as many people as possible.

More Cannes coverage  
"We want and have to get this story out there as widely as we can," Kapur said. "Luckily, with the partners we have now, we can go and make it without needing to go to the studios to get money, but will want it on lots of screens. Water conservation is an important issue for me so this is a film very close to my heart."

One of the key drivers behind the project is an aim to bring the growing global issue of a world without clean, drinking water and the threat to humanity it reps to the top of the global political agenda. "Blue Covenant" author Maude Barlowe is aboard and hopes Kapur's film will play a part in taking awareness to a whole new level.