Hansal Mehta's son Jai makes directorial debut with Paanipath

Hansal Mehta’s Son Jai Mehta makes his directorial debut with a short fiction film, Paanipath, which premiered on Hotstar as a part of National Geographic Mission Blue Stories. The short is presented by Hansal Mehta. Inspired by true events, Paanipath confronts the disturbing reality of water crisis through the victims of a flawed and politicized water management system. The 18 minutes- short film starring Tejaswini Kohlapure and Nagesh Bhonsle is available for viewing on  www.missionblue.in  and Hotstar. The National Geographic Mission Blue initiative that aims to spread awareness and inspire change for the cause of water conservation, with the specially created content by Indian film-makers such as  Hansal Mehta, Imtiaz Ali, Madhur Bhandarkar and  Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury and Madhur Bhandarkar who have joined hands with National Geographic to spread this important message through short films. Talking about the inspiration for the storyline, Jai Mehta says, “Last year, the worst drought hit many parts of our nation. What I observed was how unaffected certain privileged parts of our society remained while people scrambled for days without water. Some protested for weeks, some walked and waited for hours in the scorching heat while some even gave up their lives.The class divide and the stark disparity in the availability of a fundamental resource disturbed me and I felt the need to give a voice to those that aren’t represented, through my film. I feel the  politicization of water and the unfair distribution is a giving way to a dangerous way of living that is slowly spiraling out of control. The sooner we realize that water cannot be treated as a luxury but a basic fundamental right, the better we can prepare for future generations.” Hansal Mehta says: “The Human race has irresponsibly, over decades destroyed and misused resources. We are in the midst of crisis and water is at the heart of this.” // ]]>

HUMANITARIAN CRISIS IN YEMEN

Bombarded building in Yemen[/caption] The Houthis fighting the government with the help of Iran were able to push upto the capital Sanna in 2014 as the army was divided and busy tackling AQAP in the south. The Houthis were successful in capturing Sanna and putting president Hadi under house arrest. The president escaped and went to Aden and further escaped to Saudi Arabia. After capturing the capital the Houthis progressed their attack towards Aden, the southern port city. In February 2015, Saudi Arabia along with UK, France and six Arab nations carried out aerial attacks and sent forces to fight the Houthis. The civil war started in March 2015. The Houthis were pushed back a little by coalition forces and consolidated in Taizz. The Hadi government is still operating from Aden, although the president himself remains in Saudi Arabia. Fierce fighting has been going on in the third largest province of Taizz which marks the boundary between areas of influence of Houthis and the government. Once the government troops were relieved from the south and engaged in checking Houthis, AQAP gains spread in lots of areas. At present the Houthis are in the northern and western part of the country and AQAP in southern and eastern part with government troops holding onto certain locations inbetween. The US has been using missile and drone attacks against Al Qaeda since 2002 but the attacks peaked in 2016. This year more than 70 air attacks have been launched by US against AQAP in Shabwah governate. A large number of foreigners were trapped in Yemen out of which 4640 Indians and 960 foreigners from 41 countries were successfully evacuated between 01 to 11 April 2015, by sea and air by Indian Armed Forces and Air India under OP RAHAT led by Gen VK Singh, minister of state for foreign affairs. Before the war, Yemen imported 90 percent of its food requirements. After months of blockade and aerial bombardment, half the population is without food Medicines are scarce and diseases like diarrhoea are rampant. Hodeida is the worst affected province where Saudi led coalition bombardment have hampered humanitarian aid and destroyed large quantities of food stuffs. More than 8 million people lack access to safe drinking water and sanitation in Yemen. The population is now at risk of disease outbreaks like cholera, dengue and scabies. 2.6 million women and girls are at the risk of being abused, exploited and forced into marriage. The present humanitarian crisis started in 2015 and has tremendous potential to bring in country wide famine if the international community does not take notice. Two million children are malnourished and one child under the age of five dies of preventable causes every 10 minutes in Yemen. “We are witnessing the starvation and the crippling of an entire generation. We must act now to save lives” said the Secretary General of UN. // ]]>