Katiyabaaz


Loha, a 28-year-old katiyabaaz or electricity thief lives in Kanpur, a city of 3 million, which suffers from power cuts that last up to 15 hours. Renowned for his prowess in stealing electricity, he is a robin-hood like figure who steals electricity and charges the rich to provide free connections in impoverished neighborhoods. Ritu, the newly appointed head of the local electricity utility, is working on a mission to eliminate all illegal connections. Her strategy is to reach out to consumers and chalk a new path forward for Kanpur. However, with the Indian summer settling in, the electricity problem takes on crisis proportions, with dire implications on the citizen’s lives and livelihoods. A rising politician takes advantage of the people’s anger. A picture emerges of a modern dystopia encompassing urban decay. Underlying the localized crisis in Kanpur is the glaring energy poverty in India, where a third of the population is bereft of this basic need, and the rest grapple with power-cuts that dictate their own terms. Powerless puts a lens to an unexplored narrative of one of the world’s fastest developing economies.

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