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Water Mafia review - Docufilm carefully dispels myth surrounding water shortage with hard-hitting facts

Water Mafia is a documentary that dropped on January 12, 2024, on DocuBay. It offers a comprehensive and precise view of the water mafia crisis that currently grips all the major cities of India.

Water Mafia review - Docufilm carefully dispels myth surrounding water shortage with hard-hitting facts
A still from the docufilm Water Mafia's trailer

Last Updated: 02.50 PM, Jan 16, 2024


Water Mafia is a documentary that paints a vivid picture of the delusion that the common public endure every day in the name of water shortage and lack of proper flow. Directed by Naman Goyal, the film dropped on January 12, 2024, on the OTT platform, DocuBay.

Based on the data and statistics mainly gathered by senior investigative journalist Vivek Agrawal and Raja Ram Gautam, an Aam Aadmi Party volunteer and activist, the film serves as a thrilling watch.


Water Mafia takes you on a ride into deeper waters, creating a steady-paced narrative that is formed based on the numerous perspectives offered by various victims, ex-cons, politicians, researchers, economists, and the investigative leads.


Water Mafia, that ends up clocking almost 45 minutes, never makes you feel you are watching a non-fiction documentary. The unfolding of facts and staggering truths upon its viewers in a simple and straightforward manner is a gamechanger in the genre of docufilms, that often go on and on, tediously churning up data.

Notably, Water Mafia does not attempt to overcompensate for its factual premise by exaggerating or dramatizing statistics. It sticks to simplicity and sails through, based on its well-executed and properly-researched foundation.

The docufilm traces the origin and spread of the entire body of water mafia across the congested, metropolitan cities such as Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, and Chennai. Though Water Mafia chiefly focuses on Delhi and Mumbai, its astonishing but accurate data shows that the water mafia currently operates on an annual nexus of ₹10,000 crore.

The documentary curates careful montages of shots, against a soft background music, that convey a lot more than spoken words or written facts. From showing how the money exchanges hands via briefcase to the nexus between the mafia and officials, the docufilm showcases the rot from tanker driver to government officers and higher-ups.

The docufilm maintains a comprehensive overview without faltering either in pace or data. From explaining how the illegal chawls were built overnight in areas like Kaju Pada and Saki Naka, that facilitated the growth of illicit activities, to explaining the correlation of population density and high rise buildings with water scarcity, Water Mafia is packed with enough information to make you well-versed without overbaking your brain.

Water Mafia also features frequent picturesque, cinematic topshots of the densely packed cities of Mumbai and Delhi, along with thematic closeups and silent montages of water being stolen, highlighting the ominous horror that is in our near future, without running the risk of repitition.

The docufilm has multiple renowned figures as guests narrators, while Vivek Agrawal and Raja Ram Gautam steer the narrative of their respective cities, Mumbai and Delhi. The guests offer realistic and relevant information that further showcases the reality around the ‘man-made’ water shortage in India, created by the water mafia and maintained by corrupt government officials.

Despite being a docufilm, Water Mafia has surprisingly iconic dialogues and resonating quotes like ‘Kuye mai paani nahi nikalta, note nikalte hai’ (It is not water but currency notes that the wells give), ‘Jal hai toh kal hai’ (If there is water, there is a future), and a particular quote for the Kaula Bandar area’s water scarcity ordeal despite its good geographic landscape, ‘Water water everywhere, but no water to drink.’

Final Verdict

The docufilm is a must-watch for all documentary lovers and environmental enthusiasts. For the rest, Water Mafia will still provide a captivating watch that offers a suspense angle and proper insight into a threat that is environmental, economical, political, as well as personal in nature.

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