By Tomazinho Cardozo
April 24 is celebrated as “Konkani Cinema Day”. It was on this day that in 1950 the first Konkani Cinema, “Mogacho Anvddo” was released. Today, Konkani Cinema completes 61 years. Considering the number of movies produced during this period vis-à-vis commercial success it appears that we are just beginners in the world of cinema.
No form of art can survive if the society to which it belongs to does not patronise it. People’s participation is of utmost importance, be it dance, drama, song or cinema. If the people of the soil, where this cultural form originated, do not love it then there is every possibility of losing that form permanently. I observe such an attitude among Goans as far as Konkani films are concerned. It is unfortunate indeed!
There were only two Konkani films released in 2010. They are “O Maria” by Rajendra Talak and “Tum Kitem Kortolo Aslo?” by Sharon Mazarello. “O Maria” has completed 100 days of screening at INOX, Panaji with one show every day. “Tum Kitem Kortolo Aslo” will screen its 100th show on May 16 at the Ravindra Bhavan, Margao. Looking at the performance of Konkani films in Goa, few pertinent questions need to be answered by Goans, particularly the lover of Konkani language and Konkani culture.
Why are Konkani films screened only once a day? The simple answer is that Goans do not patronise Konkani films the way they do Bollywood and Hollywood films. If a Bollywood film can have 8 to 10 shows a day, why not have at least three shows for a Konkani film? This is an insult from Goans to their own culture. It’s high time that Goans realise the importance of Konkani cinema in preserving the cultural heritage of Goa.
Yet another important question that comes up is why, in some cases, are Konkani films are not given the opportunity of being screened at prestigious theatres in Goa? I am given to understand that the prestigious theatres, many a time, decline the requests of Goan producers to screen their films. If this is true, then it is another example of a grave insult to Konkani language, which is the Official language of Goa. The government must have a policy that will compel every theatre owner to screen Konkani films without any hesitation and that too at concessional rates. This is very important if we intend to give respectability to Konkani cinema.
We must learn a lesson or two from Bhojpuri people and their films. Today, Bhojpuri cinema is making waves at the national level only because of the whole-hearted support of the people. They are well aware of the fact that Bollywood films are better, yet they go to watch Bhojpuri movies because their only intention is to see that the Bhojpuri cinema attains greater heights in the world of cinema. And here in Goa we experience exactly the opposite.
Yes, it is a fact that Konkani films are not comparable to Bollywood and Hollywood films. At the same time it does not mean that Konkani films do not have any standard. ‘Amchem Noxib’ and ‘Nirmonn’ achieved great success. ‘Nirmonn’ won the National Award in the 1960s. In recent years, we have come across Konkani films like ‘Alisha’, ‘Antarnad’, ‘Padri’ and ‘Sawarya.com’ which display a lot of improvement in film making. They have won national awards too. Regrettably they were not commercial successes only because of our biased attitude towards Konkani films.
There is a feeling that Konkani films are not commercially viable and therefore Goan producers and directors today opt for making Marathi films as these films have a huge audience in the neighbouring state of Maharashtra. All Goans speak and understand Konkani. If we love the language we are bound to love all that is produced in that language, including films. Therefore our mindset towards Konkani films needs to change. This is the time when Konkani cinema needs our support. If we have a positive outlook towards Konkani cinema then it will prosper in times to come. Mind you, any amount of financial support from the Government can only provide temporary relief. Only people’s support can make Konkani cinema self-sufficient and prosperous in times to come.