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Would you risk your life to flip a switch?
Shariq, a 22-year-old electrician living in Kanpur, is renowned for his prowess in stealing electricity. In the face of day-long power-cuts, he runs illegal connections from one neighborhood to another so that homes, factories and businesses are not left in the dark. Meanwhile, the city administration is renewing its efforts to clamp down on power-theft, which costs them millions of rupees in losses each year. Powerless sheds light on the opposing corners of this political ring, from an electrical Robin Hood to the myopic utility company.


  • Katiyabaaz is an ambitious example of the (not so) New Indian Cinema that has attracted much attention lately… Mustafa and Kakkar look outward, at the larger picture, using the peculiarities of Kanpur.
    – The Caravan
  • Powerless is by far the best contribution to the 63rd Berlinale from India; maybe even the best movie I have seen this year – everybody who gets the chance, should watch it too!
    – Der Freitag
  • A jarring glimpse at Indiaʼs rampant energy crisis
    – New York Times
  • Powerless is more than a good film, it is a political blueprint
    – Der Taggesspiegel
  • The filmmakers very effectively bring what could be rather dry subject to life
    – Tom Brook, BBC Talking Movies
  • what stays in mind (at the Berlinale) is an Indian
    documentary. The images of tangled electrical wires installed by bare hands high above the streets…will not leave your mind.
    – Suddeutsches Zeitung
  • There's a panorama of struggle here that's fascinating to watch even if it's troubling at the end
    - Flixist

Festival Participation

  • Berlin International Film Festival - 2013
  • Tribeca Film Festival - 2013
  • Docville - 2013
  • Freiburg Forum Festival - 2013
  • San Francisco Green Film Festival - 2013
  • Open City Docs London - 2013
  • Viennale - 2013
  • Melbourne International Film Festival - 2013
  • Motovun Film Festival - 2013
  • Raindance Film Festival - 2013
  • Festival do Rio - 2013
  • Take One Action Festival - 2013
  • Adana Film Festival

Additional Materials

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