Powerless

Fahad Mustafa

Loha Singh is a true katiyabaaz, an Indian Robin Hood of electricity. He provides free connections in impoverished neighborhoods of Kanpur, so that homes, factories and businesses can function during lengthy power cuts. Meanwhile, the city administration is renewing efforts to clamp down on power-theft.

Power cables fill the sky over the streets of Kanpur, India. It’s an intricate tousle of wires, both legal and illegal – the latter strung up by locals. They get their own men in for the job, because the ‘power company people never showed up’.
One of those men is Loha Singh. He's a true katiyabaaz, an Indian Robin Hood of electricity. ‘Who doesn’t know him?’ the owner of a sewing studio says. ‘Thanks to him we can run our shops. He's like a hero from the movies!’
The storekeepers depend on the katiyabaaz’s services. There are power outages – long ones – and a 16-hour day without power is a common occurrence. A new government official at KESCO – the first woman to take on this position at the power company – starts a war on the illegal taps. She tries to change the system by carrying out raids. The power supply becomes part of a political campaign. Will things change this time?

Credits

Subtitles
EN
Director
Fahad Mustafa
Country
India, United States
Type
Documentary
Duration
82 minutes
Themes
corporations, media corporations, development, sustainable development, aid, politics & democracy, poverty
Year
2013