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Cinema’s Goan Home

Good run:Nachom-Ia- Kumpasar is still going strong 18 months after it was first screened.  

Goa is best known as a tourist destination. Not surprisingly, its for its beaches, villages, churches, temples and popular landmarks have been portrayed prominently in several Bollywood films. But Goa’s own cinema mains an unknown entity outside the State.

Bardroy Barreto’s Nachom-Ia-Kumpasar (2015) changed that.

The film is still going strong a good 18 months after it was first screened, caught attention of cinephiles nationally and also made it to festivals around the globe.

However, the first Konkani film to make an impact internationally was Laxmikant Shetgaonkar’s Paltadcho Munis (The Man Across The Bridge) which won the FIPRESCI award at the Toronto Film Festival in 2009.

Films have been produced in Goa for a while but they were few and far between.

The first Konkani film, Mogacho Anvddo , was released in 1950. Though other movies were made, intermittently, only three since then are significant: Amche Noxib (1963), Nirmon (1966) and Bhuierantlo Munis (1977), the first colour film in Konkani.

A spectrum of ideas

Now, with new technology, it has become easier to make low budget films, but all the stakeholders agree that the interest in cinema in the State has been on an upsurge after the International Film Festival of India moved to Goa back in 2004.

In the last quarter of 2015, there were four major releases, including a science fiction film in Konkani. For a State that has a population of just 15 lakh, a majority of whom live in the hinterland, that is an impressive number of films especially if you consider the fact that there is a better chance of making money in a Ponzi scheme than by investing money in producing a film.

Like most regional films that come from small States, these Konkani films too deal with unique and diverse subjects. Enemy (2015), for instance deals with the Enemy Property Act enacted in 1968. The law which was established in wake of the 1965 war with Pakistan and the 1962 war with China: empowered the government to take over any property in India that belonged to an Indian who decided to take Pakistani or Chinese citizenship.

Then there is Ramprasad Adpaikar’s Hanv Tu Tu Hanv (2016). It is what one could call a science fiction comedy, where a dead man’s conscience gets transported into the person who was responsible for his death.

Nirmon (a remake of the abovementioned Konkani classic of the same name) directed by Sripad Pai was released in 2015.

Swapnil Shetkar, the director and producer of Home Sweet Home (2014) was encouraged by the box-office success of the film to release its sequel in December 2015, albeit to a mixed response.

Rajendra Talak, Goa’s most prolific filmmaker, has made four films since 2004 and two of them, Aleesha (2004) and Antarnaad (2006) won the National Award, while O’Maria (2010) went on to become one of the biggest hits ever.

The money comes in

A film on a shoestring budget would cost at least Rs. 20 lakh. For any producer to put in money, he or she has to be a true lover of cinema or someone with deep pockets.

Fortunately, for aspiring Goa filmmakers, there are cinema-loving producers ready to pitch in. Most of these producers have made their money in real estate, are now contributing their bit to promote cinema.

But for small states like Goa, support must come from the government too.

The film finance scheme of the Entertainment Society of Goa, however, appears to be in deep slumber, responding occasionally to a wake-up call. The revival of the scheme was announced recently; as with all government announcements, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Before the scheme went comatose in 2011, a producer would get Rs. 25 lakh (including Rs. 5,000 per screening, for a maximum of 100 shows) if the script was approved. According the recent announcement, the limit will be raised to Rs. 50 lakh.

Revenue shares

Once a film is made, the ultimate encouragement for filmmakers comes from the audience. If films start becoming commercially viable — or at least recover the costs — then more producers might chip in.

At say Rs. 200 for a ticket to collect Rs.30 lakh, you need at least 15,000 ticket-buyers. For a state with a population of around 15 lakh, that doesn’t sound like a very steep mountain to climb, but actually it is. Not many films manage to do that: Home Sweet Home (2014), for example, had around 550 shows in theatres with approximately 50,000 viwers.

Iimagine if even 10 per cent of the population were to watch cinema in theatres; it would change the equation drastically.

Of course, not all the money goes to the filmmakers, the ratio at which it is shared with the exhibitor (theatre) varies from 40 per cent to 70 per cent.

As a result, many films makers have taken the alternate route pioneered by Nachom-ia-Kumpasar : instead of releasing the film in multiplexes and sharing revenue, film makers now prefer to screen at Maquinez Palace in Panaji and Ravindra Bhavan in Margao, both government-owned auditoriums with screening facilities. The fixed hall rental charges are paid to the government and the revenue generated from the screening goes to the producer.

Enemy , the National Award winner for Best Konkani film, Nirmon , Hanv Tu Tu Hanv and Home Sweet Home 2 were all jostling for space in these auditoriums at the same time along with Nachom-ia whose golden run continues.

Even though there is little support from the government at the moment, there are more than a handful films in the pipeline.

Laxmikant Shetgaonkar’s Bhavarth is a period film that is in pre-production; Michael Mascarenhas’ Soul Curry starring Jackie Shroff is on the verge of completion; post production of K Sera Sera , directed by Rajiv Shinde featuring National Award winner Palomi Ghosh, is under way; writer Pranesh Desai and director Mitesh Gaonkar, two former students of Goa Arts College, are making a film about a 500-rupee note that changes hands in a village; Swapnil Shetkar is likely to start shooting 3 Stars , a bilingual children’s film soon; Swapnil Salkar and Ashish Azgaonkar have completed a film with a football theme; and Jitendra Shikerkar has wrapped up Martin , a suspense thriller.

Here’s more power to the Goans, who are chasing celluloid dreams.

The author is a freelance writer based in Goa

In the last quarter of 2015, there were four major releases, including a science fiction film in Konkani. For a State that has a population of just 15 lakh, a majority of whom live in the hinterland, that is an impressive number

Fortunately, for aspiring filmmakers,

there are cinema loving producers who are ready to pitch in

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Printable version | Sep 28, 2021 7:30:07 PM |

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