Shekhar Kapur Taps Yash Raj Films for 'Paani'

Shekhar Kapur - Cannes Film Festival - 2010
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The “Elizabeth” director's take on the war for water in a futuristic Mumbai will be produced by the iconic Bollywood banner.

NEW DELHI – Leading Bollywood banner Yash Raj Films and Elizabeth director Shekhar Kapur have joined hands to make Kapur's ambitious Paani (Water).

The Mumbai-based film is set in a not-too distant future where wars over water have broken out. Water is now owned by international corporations who use thirst as a weapon of control. According to the announcement by YRF, “The film will have a strong Indian and Western star cast, headed by a young leading actor from India and a young leading actress from the West.”

“I have been preparing for this film for a long time, but always wanted an Indian partner that has the same passion for the film as I do and in (YRF creative head) Aditya Chopra, I have finally found that. It’s a huge production that demands futuristic sets and large action pieces. With Yash Raj Films, I have found a perfect home for Paani,” said Kapur.

The film will be produced by Aditya Chopra (son of the late film-maker and YRF founder Yash Chopra) and shot in India and overseas. Oscar-winning composer A. R. Rahman (Slumdog Millionaire) is also confirmed to do the film's score. Production is slated to begin by mid-2013 and Kapur confirmed to THR that “we are working on the budget... I think its going to be close to $30 million.”

Last year, YRF floated its U.S. division YRF Entertainment headed by Aditya's younger brother Uday Chopra with Jonathan Reiman as head of development and production under him. YRFE has produced and financed The Longest Week, written and directed by Peter Glanz, starring Jason Bateman, Olivia Wilde, and Billy Crudup. At Cannes this year, YRFE and Paris-based Stone Angels announced their coproduction Grace of Monaco starring Nicole Kidman. Directed by Olivier Dahan (La Vie En Rose) the film tells the story of efforts by the late Princess Grace of Monaco (the former Grace Kelly, played by Nicole Kidman) to make peace between her adopted country and France.

At the 2010 Cannes festival, Kapur officially announced Paani by staging a Russian Roulette of sorts offering journalists at the Carlton Hotel press conference bottled water: only, some bottles contained actual water from Mumbai's Dharavi slum, challenging guests to pick any bottle.