Laxmikant Shetgaonkar belongs to the young generation of film makers who are keeping the flag of Goan cinema flying high. After ‘Paltadcho Munis’ (Man Across the Bridge) which made waves at the Toronto film festival followed by ‘Baga Beach’ which won the National award for Best Konkani feature film, Shetgaonkar’s latest screenplay Bhavarth has been selected for the Film Bazaar at the on-going International Film Festival of India where he will be talking to prospective producers and financers.
Shetgaonkar is disappointed with the state government for not taking up the cause of promoting Konkani cinema. “Every other state has a film policy, be it Maharashtra, Kerala or Odisha, there has been a lot of talk about it in Goa but there is no action” he said on the side lines of the Film Bazaar.
He has a valid reason to be disappointed – It has been over three years since the state policy became defunct and the modified policy is a work-in-progress since then. Whether there is a lack of will or lack of ability to do, either way the local film makers are suffering the most.
Worse, this has come at a time when there are some young talented film makers looking for a break but that doesn’t seem to be coming, not from the government at least.
Interestingly, even when the film finance scheme of Goa government was active till 2012, the money disbursed through the scheme was in an arbitrary manner. Some films got as much as 25 lakhs while a similar film on the same scale got 15 lakhs.
From those numbers it is obvious that there isn’t a huge amount of money involved in financing films. If a budget of say `3 crores is kept every year to finance films, even at `40 lakhs (which is what the Government of Maharashtra gives for instance) you could get five films and at 10 lakhs which is a sizable amount for a short film, you could get at least ten quality short films.
“Films help us preserve our culture and heritage and they are a documentation of the same. We as film makers can contribute in keeping it alive by telling stories but regional films cannot progress without the support of the government” opines Shetgaonkar whose new film is a period film set in the 16th century in Goa, in a village which is going through a religious transformation.
“Given the population and the size of our state, it is impossible for private producers to fund a film, the only way cinema can survive in Goa is with the support of the government, I just hope they revive the film policy and bring it back on track otherwise what is the point of having IFFI in the state if the government just pays lip service to promote films? The role of art is being taken for granted by the authorities” he added.