Need a positive short film movement

By Sandesh Prabhudesai
21 June 2010 11:20 IST

Last weekend was the weekend of Marathi Film Festival in Goa, organized by Vinsan Graphics, in association with the Entertainment Society of Goa. This is a second consecutive year Vinsan Graphics has been making this marvelous contribution to the Goan society.

May not be as rich as the IFFI, but this Marathi Film Festival is definitely not a ‘poor' show. In fact, it's as rich as our regional film industry like Malyalam, Bengali or Kannada, in terms of reality cinema or a parallel cinema.

In spite of having Bollywood attraction in their own state, many creative and sensitive Maharashtrian youngsters have embraced the regional cinema, neither for cheap comedy nor for populist unrealistic themes. This cinema is completely shocking, unimaginable, unbearable but truly realistic. 

Sudden success of Sandip Sawant's "Shwas" in 2004 came as a real breather for the parallel Marathi cinema. The youngsters sensed the changing mood of Marathi viewers and joined the Indian mainstream, to produce reality cinema.

During IFFI, I remember, I watched quite a few mind-boggling Marathi films, which had completely disappeared after that era of ‘70s and ‘80s of Jabbar Patel & Company. 

For example, Bipin Nadkarni (a Konkani-speaking Maharashtrian), came with a thought-provoking movie "Uttarayan" in 2005, followed by "Aevdhese Abhal" later. 

Much before that, Amol Palekar's "Anaahat" was an equally superb production, unlike his latest "Samantar", which just cannot be called a parallel cinema. 

But more interestingly, both the Marathi Film Festivals have come out with a depiction of rural Maharashtra, unknown to us, and the agony the farming community is presently going through. 

Last year, the highlight was the incidents of farmers' suicides. "Gabricha Pavoos" was the most striking among them. There was also a commercial movie like "Gosht Chotisi, Dongra Aevdhi", again on the theme of farmers' suicide.

The young Marathi filmmakers did not stop at that. The pains the farmers' families went through after the family head committed suicide were once again picturised very effectively. In fact, this year's film festival was full of it. It was becoming difficult to watch another film even with a gap of 10-15 minutes. Heavy head....

Umesh Kulkarni is yet another genius born in Maharashtra, a youngster in 20s. His first film "Valoo" was simply great. This year, he came with "Vihir", a little dragging in the second half, but still a masterpiece. 

There were equally good feature films, especially Sachin Kundalkar's "Nirop", which I rate as the best feature film of this year's Marathi Film Festival held in Goa.

But more remarkable for both the years are the short films, made by the young Marathi filmmakers. To name a few, the best among all was, again, Umesh Kulkarni's old film - "Girni", based on a mental agony a boy goes through due to a floor mill run by his widow mother in the house. 

Kedar Jape's "Bangdya" (bangles) was based on the post-suicide horrific story of the widowed mother and her school-going daughter. 

I had met during IFFI Nandu Madhav as an actor, who played Dadasaheb Falke in a great Marathi film "Harishchandrachi Factory", the film that was officially sent for Oscars by India. He has now produced a short film "Shwet-Angar", depicting the suffering a cotton-producing small farmer goes through. Simply unbearable, but a harsh reality...

In this background, when I look at our own Konkani film industry, I simply cannot understand why our youngsters cannot think of producing such reality cinema. Why are our Goan writers not penning down the harsh realities in the degrading Goan society? Why are we not concentrating on affordable but equally effective short films?

Right now, what is seen in Goa are two extremes. One section says NO to everything. The second section says YES to everything. It's either extreme negativism or over-positivism. There is hardly anything constructive, creative and positive that would benefit the upliftment of Goan society. 

The political system has gone completely haywire. No policies framed, keeping a common Goenkar in front of their eyes. Big declarations are made by our ministers, bureaucrats, councilors and sarpanchas to save environment, to build pro-people economy and to work for the prosperity. In reality, these same people are involved in illegal mining, illegal land conversions, illegal hill cuttings, illegal destruction of our beaches, illegal drug trade, illegal rave parties, illegal flesh trade and what not...

The people are suffering. The economy is moving directionless. The environment is getting destroyed. The villages are getting converted into heaps of rejects. The water, the air, the land, everything is getting polluted. It's definitely not a healthy scene all around...

In fact, digital film can be the most effective modern tool to reach out the people with a positive message over the degrading situation of our tiny beautiful state. Making a short digital film is much reasonable. It's affordable to produce, it's easy to screen on a LCD projector, television or even your computer and it's the most effective audio-visual medium to reach out to the masses.

I don't say that no such efforts are made in Goa, but not as a conscious movement. Experiments made during IFFI, as per the whims and fancies of the organisers, have been quite successful. The Goan youngsters have produced excellent films on various burning issues. This energy and social concern of Goan young artists needs to be channelised.  

I admire our young and - to be proud of - Laxmikant Shetgaonkar. His celluloid film "Paltadcho Munis" got the biggest acclaim at the Toronto International Film Festival - the juries' award. Since then, his movie is moving all around the world. He is today considered India's most illustrious filmmaker.

But he was not satisfied at that. He screened his film at Maquenez Palace in Panaji. He was personally selling tickets at the counter. After running it also in Margao and Vasco, Laxmikant now plans to make a DVD of his flilm, take a projector and move from village to village. 

Because, this young filmmaker, knows the power of a digital film. This great filmmaker also knows his social responsibility. He also knows that he needs to spread the taste of a reality cinema among the masses.    

Few days back, Goa's noted writer Pundalik Naik was conferred with the most prestigious Gomant Sharada Puraskar. He raised similar issues in his one-hour long speech and asked: "Are we becoming ‘government' writers?" 
In fact this question needs be asked to all those, who call themselves creative and sensitive. The writers and the artists. The producers. The directors. The musicians. The singers. The actors... and even the filmmakers.

Can't you see anything worthwhile all around you, to produce?

It's high time we start seriously thinking positive. It's high time we start doing something creative. It's high time we become sensitive, but logical, to stop our state getting ruined at the hands of destroyers. 

Let us not enter into a blame game. The destroyers are not only those who have political or economic power. The destroyers are also those who have creative power, but not utilising it sensitively, and sensibly. 

Let's us not join the bandwagon of destroyers by becoming ostriches. Let us be the army of saviors by thinking positive, doing positive, creating positive and building positive. Yes, producing short films can be a BIG BIG step in this direction.

Blogger's Profile

Sandesh Prabhudesai

Sandesh Prabhudesai is a journalist, presently the Editor of goanews.com, Goa's oldest exclusive news website since 1996. He has earlier worked as the Editor-in-Chief of HCN and Prudent, Goa's TV channels and Editor of Sunaparant, besides working as a reporter for Goan and national dailies & weeklies in English and Marathi since 1987. He also reports for the BBC. He is also actively involved in literary and cultural activities.

Drop a comment

Enter The Code Displayed hereRefresh Image


Previous Comments

A good article… written with lot of concern. However I support Moghe’s statements. For quite some time, Goans have made films funded by then Konkani academy and information department. These films were never got complete, leaving no accountability by so called poets and literature people in Goa. As I see more than short film movement there has to be training platforms to create good short films. Having interest in making films and aptitude in making one is yet another thing. Quite a many enthusiasts made films only to get some money from the Govt. Finally Goa never had quality films or commercially successful ones. We need to learn the craft. Remember, film is an art and also a science.

- laxmikant, morji | 23 rd June 2010 13:25

 

You have pointed out some hard-hitting facts. But we should be more careful while working in this direction. Knowing the fact that 99% of our filmmakers are slogging in this field adopting ‘trial & error’ methods, without having proper training of film craft, there always lies a possibility of underestimating the technique of the craft.

Our so-called Goan film industry is more of a group of untrained film campaigners rather than to be referred as filmmakers.

The Govt. sponsored Film Finance Scheme is also an apt example of the paradox. It does make the arrangement for the financial support to the filmmakers but without making any arrangement of the much-required training facilities, knowing the fact that it’s annual budgetary provision of Rs. 2 crore for film making is at stake.

Adapting to ‘DIGITAL’ format would be the finest exercise that would suit our scenario today and would certainly provide us with some handy lessons but with this there also should be a parallel growth in our understanding of ‘THE FILM’



- Dnyanesh Moghe, Mhapsa | 22 nd June 2010 09:44

 

Sandesh Bhai, I really loved what u have written. it's a eye opening. Thanks. I Promise That i will definetly do somthng about this. Producing/ dirctng & also Short film Competition here in Curchorem Soon. I am sure, you will help for ths. as always.......

- Rajoo Naik, Curchorem - Goa | 21 st June 2010 17:20

 

Well written but then what next?

One thing is sure that that 'WILL' must come from within. Then we must have persistence to do things. I too talked with many of those and realized that they have some professionals who do technical things possible for them. They raise money. No government. We have to think away from Govt. money. Just was thinking 'Are we the teachers responsible for the situation?'

- anand masur, madgao | 21 st June 2010 16:41

 

apt,thought provoking,bulls eye;;congrats SANDESH.

- atish vaikunth , mumbai | 21 st June 2010 16:23

 

Related Blogs