Shekhar Kapur

Indian film director Shekhar Kapur has collaborated with international charity WaterAid to create a short animation to highlight how the global water crisis affects women and children.

Titled Brides of the Well, the film tells the story of two teenagers – Paras and Saraswati – living in India’s Punjab. They are forced into child marriage and a life of servitude and they walk long distances to collect water for their aging husbands.

The story, which is adapted from a story by Kapur himself, is narrated by Bend it like Beckham star Parminder Nagra.

Kapur said the aim of the film is to show how people across the world “live every day without water, dictating their futures, dreams and prospects.”

Globally, one in nine people lack access to clean water, and in India, roughly 81 million women currently live without clean water close to home.

“ I hope that by watching Brides of the Well more people will be inspired to help WaterAid in its mission to bring everyone clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene by 2030,” said Kapur.

Clean water is a human right that everyone should enjoy, said Tim Wainwright, chief executive of WaterAid, adding that access to this basic resourcehelps keep girls in school and frees women from the time spent collecting water and caring for sick children. By investing in clean water and decent sanitation, we are investing in future leaders.

 “If we want girls to thrive, we must make clean water a global priority. Without it, we are in danger of missing our targets for many of the Sustainable Development Goals, including those on gender inequality and education. Urgent action is required by us all to make clean water a reality for everyone,” said Wainwright.

Water crisis affects women and girls disproportionately throughout their lives, as they are forced to bear the burden of walking long distances to collect water. This often results in them dropping out of school from an early age, missing out on education and making them vulnerable to child marriage.

Kapur’s Brides of the Well animation is based on his own observations of life in India.