Director: Fahad Mustafa, Deepti Kakkar | Countries of production: India | Year: 2013 | Length: 80 min
Language: Hindi with English subtitles

Screened as part of TOAFF13

A 28-year-old electrician living in Kanpur is renowned for his prowess in stealing electricity. He is a robin-hood figure, stealing electricity and charging the rich to provide free connections in impoverished neighborhoods. In the face of day-long power-cuts, he runs illegal connections from one neighborhood to another so that homes, factories and businesses can function normally.

However, the city administration is renewing efforts to clamp down on power-theft, which costs them millions of rupees in losses each year. Yearly drives to remove illegal connections are met with street protests and anger, while the lack of electricity drives people to use generators run on fossil fuels.

As the film continues a picture emerges of a modern dystopia encompassing urban decay and desperation in the lack of electricity, a localized crisis that reflects the glaring energy poverty in India.

The insightful documentary Katiyabaaz (international title: “Powerless“) highlights the ingenious — and often illegal — methods residents of the northern Indian city of Kanpur use to cope with chronic power shortages.
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