Drowned Out examines the massively controversial Narmada Dam and its relatives in India, an enormous and expensive project originally conceived to bring water to drought-ridden areas. According to critics (and director Franny Armstrong), this isn't quite the case: Not only are dry areas not getting water, thousands of families are being displaced because of the dam. The government has little land to give, so it offers meager amounts of cash to those affected: Most spend it immediately and move to the disease-infested slums of the cities. Meanwhile, a few brave souls choose to stay and tough it out, moving to higher ground if they can, resigning themselves to die if they must. (The government won't allow that either, though: People are beaten until they move.)
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The film is expected to continue without Mendes' involvement.