The Rhythm Is Gonna Get You!

By Dr Oscar Rebelo
09 December 2014 21:55 IST

This is it! Phew, you could knock me down with a feather, as I trotted out after viewing Nachoiam Kumpasar (let’s dance to the rhythm), a new age Konkanni film, that pushes the envelope in a hitherto unseen energetic, effervescent and electric manner.

The movie tells you about the life trajectory of Goa’s most priceless musical treasure “Lawrence Vaz” (a.k.a Chris Perry??) and his hauntingly glorious muse “Donna” (a.k.a Lorna?). Their music, their passion, their quirks, their human failings, their unrequited love, their giddy triumph, their tragic decay and then her magnificent resurrection. It all unfolds like a dream.

Much like Mamma Mia wove the Abba soundtrack into its story line, with such panache, Nachoiam  Kumpasar weaves some of Konkanni’s most enduring and endearing anthems into the narrative effortlessly. The absolutely rollicking and foot-tapping musical arrangement of Ronnie Monserrate, coupled with the high octane, virtuoso rendition of the songs by Cielda  Pereira  -- is a complete knockout. The music will simply soak into your system and will not let go as it hasn’t, all these decades since Chris Perry first composed them.

The performance by Palomi Ghosh (a Bengali lass who looks even more Goan) who  plays “Donna” is the absolute trump card of this film. Vulnerable yet immensely gifted, hers is a love affair with life itself. This is a touching, no frills required , powerful potrayal of the prima donna’s life.

The rest of the stellar cast including Vijay Maurya (Lawrence Vas), the incredibly funny John D’Silva, the ever dependable Prince “( he’s looking older now, so he should change it to “King”) Jacob,  the intense and achingly poignant Meenaxi Martins and even a fellow AAP traveler Rashid Sousa pack a punch,  a real forceful punch as well.

From the outstanding cinematography to the sound design; from the gorgeous locales to the picture perfect period setting; From  the witty dialogues to the resplendent choreography, this is pure magic unfolding on screen. A once in a lifetime experience.

Of course, it has its flaws. The pacing slackens a trifle in the middle, the editing is clearly over indulgent (a good fifteen minutes of fat could have been knocked off the film and make it more trim) and it trips, at times into familiar “tiatr” terrain. These are small, near invisible pimples however on an otherwise flawless and alluring complexion.

But what struck me most about this tour-de-force was the self belief and near insane passion, conviction and chutzpah of Team Bardroy Barreto, the filmmaker.

To actually conquer this fear and trepidation and make a global film, of this standard and quality is what the Goan dream is all about and has always been for ages, often however unsung.

Also what is it with the deep south Canacona that it throws up such prodigious talent, the other noteworthy example being Laxmikant Shetgaonkar, that other genius of Goan cinema.

So now, it is we the people of Goa and Konkani lovers across India who need to stand up and be counted because for me, this is the Konkanni Magnum Opus of our generation. We need to back this product, unreservedly and  plug it shamelessly, not just because it is “ Goan” but because it is so smashingly good.

We need to continue to search within ourselves, how to nurture, preserve and celebrate little slices of Goa, we call our own and are forever in danger of being obliterated and crushed by the onslaught of globalization.

For me, you guys rock Team Bardroy Baretto. You rock Big Time. And so does our beloved Goa, I guess, even if it appears she is presently on her deathbed, cachectic, confused and joyless in a terminal drunken stupor.

Like “Donna”(Lorna) however I believe, she will someday resurrect in glorious triumph . The question is, to ensure this happens, will we play our roles well???

PS: Nachoian Kumpasar will be releasing commercially somewhere in March, I believe. And trust me, the ISL or the IPL will have to make way for the monstrous queues that will be lining up outside the box office for this film

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Dr Oscar Rebelo

Dr Oscar Rebelo is one of the leading social activist of Goa and a practicing doctor. He led the historic peoples’ movement in 2006-07 to get the anti-Goa Regional Plan scrapped and save Goa from total destruction of Goa’s ecology and natural beauty. He is a Goa-based leader of Aam Aadmi Party. He is also a columnist.

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