Tribute to Talak
By Damodar Mauzo
Come IFFI and I remember Talak. Not because of his stint at the ESG as vice-chairman, but because of his commitment to cinema. When I called him the other day, he was convalescing after a brief illness. He would obviously not attend the festival this year, he said, because he was still recuperating. My concern was the absence of Konkani films, except for a couple of short films, at the 51st IFFI. He had the answer ready.
Amateur filmmakers take the art lightly. To save time and money, they complete the film in a hurry with scant attention to the minute details. This is not the first time it has happened, he added. But why do experienced filmmakers not give new films? Prompt came the reply. Who knows, they may be busy making films! Last ten months, production was stalled because of the pandemic condition. Besides, you can’t expect them to make films one after the other. Talak himself has a film in the pipeline, he said.
I know how restless Talak can be without a film in hand. He likes to remain busy with some or the other art form. Earlier, it was his involvement with a music group followed by the staging of dramas. Then he founded the centre for performing arts, Kalangan. He made all this possible without diverting his attention from his businessTalak Constructions.
I have known Talak for 30 years. I have seen him struggling to create a niche for himself in filmmaking though his pursuit of cinema began much later. In his 20s, he loved theatre art. He was the founding member of Kala Vibhag,the art division of Gomant Vidya Niketan, Margao, where he became well conversant with every department of stage performance. Once they had staged a play, ‘Shitoo’. Talak liked the plot and thought of making a film on it. Knowing himself to be a novice, he sought the help of professionals from Mumbai to make the film. For Talak, the making of the Konkani telefilm Shitoo (1996)was a condensed course in filmmaking.
At the turn of the century, the confident Talak took a plunge into filmmaking. The films he has made so far are on diverse topics, ranging from the taboos faced by young widows to the loss of Goan identity, from greed and corruption to a mining disaster in Goa. In less than two decades, Talak has made seven feature films in Konkani and four films in Marathi. More are in the making.
In 2016, Talak was appointed as the vice-chairman of the Entertainment Society of Goa. The move did not come as a surprise to me, given his credentials as a filmmaker and his proximity to Manohar Parrikar. The film fraternity of Goa was quick on its heels to oppose the government move. But it was not heeded to. Though Laxmikant Parsekar was in the saddle as CM then, it was deemed that Parrikar, who was the Defense Minister in the Central Cabinet, ran the show. Talak resigned after three years, the term which attracted a mix of acclaim and displeasure. After taking over the office, Talak had announced that he would do his best to serve the interests of the Film industry of Goa. But obviously, his critics wanted much more than he had to offer. In my opinion, his creative inputs and the changes he brought about ought to be appreciated. Under his leadership, the ESG introduced some schemes that would help the film fraternity of Goa. It has been made compulsory for the theatres in Goa, including Inox, to allot prime time slot to any release of a Konkani feature film for the first week. Also, the theatres were asked to reduce their share to 40-60. A subsidy was declared for 100 shows in theatres.
The major ongoing project that he can boast about is the making of the Goa Film Fraternity Directory, which will come in handy to the researchers and also to those aspiring to make a film. Yet another major project of framing the shooting policy is in the pipeline that is expected to serve as a guideline to aspirants that will ensure smooth execution until the last point, Talak said. ESG’s scheme to grant a certain amount was enhanced substantially, although whether the grant reaches the deserving applicants is another story.
Talak resigned as vice chairman of ESG in 2018. But I am certain it will benefit Goa as he will now divert his energy to filmmaking in Konkani.