Goa, the Konkan paradise, has been Indian cinema’s apple of the eye when it comes to breathtaking film locations. But, the beautiful state has more than what meets the eye. The films produced here are not usually spoken about as much as the mainstream cinemas. They have recently started to gain importance among film buffs and connoisseurs around the country and even the world. The once sceptical scenario of Goa’s motion pictures changed over the last decade, with a surge in the number of films emerging from this fledgeling industry.
In the late 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, the Konkani film industry was in a bit of slack, until The International Film Festival of India arrived in the state in 2004. There was a lot of speculation back then regarding a competitive film festival being held in the Susegaad land of Goa. With the well-accomplished industry of Mumbai in its neighbourhood, the state’s film culture used to end up getting compared to the former in line. But, all this cynicism didn’t kill the patronage of several Goan film-makers, who got a new lease of life with the advent of IFFI.
In the last 13 years, 11 Goan films have made it to the Indian Panorama, which is impressive considering that there are 20-odd films in this category every year. All the 5 films made by the National-Award filmmaker Rajendar Talak, namely Aleesha (2004), the bilingual Antarnaad (2006), Saavariyaa.com (2008), O Maria (2010) and A rainy day (2014) were selected to be screened at IFFI during the respective years. Dnyanesh Moghe’s Digant (2012) about the life of a shepherd was selected at IFFI for its simple yet compelling story.
Director Bardroy Baretto’s Nachom-ia-Kumpasar was people’s favourite at IFFI 2015, which went on to win several awards later that year. In addition to this, Home Sweet Home, Prem at First Sight and First Konkani sci-fi film, Hanv Tum Tum Hanv were also screened. This year, K Sera Sera by Rajeev Shinde was the lone Konkani feature film to take part in the Panorama section of IFFI’s 47th edition.
Here’s a small sneak-peek on what the director had to say during the film’s Red Carpet appearance recently:
Laxmikant Shetgaonkar’s Paltadcho Munis, which was featured in the 40th edition of IFFI, was the first Konkani film to be premiered at any prestigious film festival. It was selected at the Toronto Film Festival in 2009 where it won the FIPRESCI prize and brought Goa and Konkani cinema in limelight. Apart from this, his other offerings have been screened at numerous film festivals including Berlin,Cairo, Istanbul,Palm Springs,Los Angeles and Hong Kong. Earlier, these vernacular films were only released on one screen or in several local community places within Goa. Today, some Konkani films are being released in Karnataka, London and in Gulf which has a significant amount of Konkani-speaking crowd.
Director Laxmikant Shetgaonkar
After 2004, a lot of budding artists from Goa started looking at films as an option for their career. IFFI has given a stage for the local producers to come up with more and more quality movies and get a world-wide recognition through the festival. Which is why, the directors nowadays aim to create an experience that is fit to compete at the Indian Panorama section of IFFI every year. Such a motto inspires them to create feature films that is strong both in technical terms and in the content it promotes. The benchmarks set by IFFI has driven them to work on the aesthetics of the film in such a way that it evokes an emotional response from an universal audience.
Over the years, few Konkani films have survived the test of time. But with the support and push from such International film festivals, the Goan culture will be kept alive and spread across the Globe through its films.
Written by Aishwarya Krishnan
DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author’s own. IFFI Goa doesn’t endorse any of the above mentioned views.