With schemes come the schemers; young talent is the future of Konkani Cinema: Bardroy

SANDESH PRABHUDESAI, PANAJI | 07 February 2016 13:45 IST

All photos: Antara Bhide

Bardroy Barreto, the first Oscar entrant with a Konkani cinema ‘Nachom-ia Kumpasar’, speaks out his mind for the first time to goanews.com.

BARDROY BARRETO has suddenly become a talk of the town with his Konkani musical getting shortlisted for Oscars in two categories, after ‘Nachom-ia Kumpasar’ winning three national awards. The Konkani film industry was also surprised with his debut feature film going houseful even after one year, including the 1064-seater Ravindra Bhavan in Margao. The film is simply rocking all over the world, bagging six awards at four international film festivals. Goans simply loved all the 20 Chris Perry songs of Lorna, through which unfolds the fictional story of their life while the film critics appreciated the filmmaking from all the angles – music, background music, direction and even the production design.

After premiering it in Doha-Qatar on 28 November and in Margao, Goa on 4 December, both in 2014, the film shows are still going houseful in Margao and Panaji. That too when the film is 2 hours 45 minutes long.

SANDESH PRABHUDESAI, Editor of goanews.com spoke to Bardroy at length when he was recently down in Goa as a Chief Guest at the All India Konkani Parishad. Hailing from Galgibag, Canacona, a simpleton young filmmaker has many more dreams to achieve. He is humble but still forthright in his views about the Konkani film industry.

How many shows more and what is the present count?

Well, we are nearing 100 shows at Ravindra Bhavan in Margao, with a capacity of 1064 while in Panaji, we have crossed 300 mark at 234-seater Maquinez Palace. We also had 14 screenings in UK, four in Kuwait, also in Doha-Qatar, Masqat, Bahrain and Dubai. In March, we are moving to Canada. We identify honest people abroad to organise and then screen. That takes little time. The ticket rate is same everywhere, India or abroad. But we have still not reached even 30% of Konkani community. A long way to go.

But why no screening in theatres?

Because theatres run your shows only for a few weeks. With this experiment, we have been running NK for over a year now, with every show going houseful. It would run for at least two more years. Isn’t that a better formula?

Everybody is asking for a DVD…

I know, but it will take time. If this film makes money, there is hope for others. We are yet to come out with a music CD of the film. It’s getting mastered abroad.  

What is the strength of your film?

Music, honesty and simplicity.

But you also bagged a national award for production design.

I think my professional background of making advertising films helped me. I am quite comfortable in making stories in 10 to 45 seconds. You need to be meticulous and focus on detailing. But to make this feature film, I had to learn its chemistry. I worked for 20 days with my brother Glenn, who makes feature films and TV serials, to learn how to make a long film.

NK is not an intellectual film, in fact a very simple film. Not a festival film, not even worth getting an award. The awards came as a surprise for us.

Is the issue between you and Lorna over?

There was never an issue. Like we are eager to show her the film, she too is eager to watch it. But she has been travelling continuously and we are still trying. Fillers have been sent from both the sides.

Some people may be interested only in negativity, but our approach was always positive. We celebrated the songs, didn’t go into personal lives of Chris Perry and Lorna. It’s a fictional account of their rumoured life. With the film getting accolades from all over the world, I believe there would be peace now. We have not passed any judgement either on her or him. We have managed to maintain that balance.

How much has been the final costing now, including marketing?

We spent nearly Rs 4.50 crore on the filmmaking. But practically nothing on marketing. We spend on newspaper advertisements only to inform the viewers about our shows, not to market it.

Yours is perhaps the first attempt in Konkani films to raise the budget through crowd funding from around 100 people. Why did you think of it and how did you manage to play this wonder?

Actually it is not crowd funding in its strictest sense. When we started thinking about funds, the first attempt was made through the Goan corporates. My partner Angelo came down to Goa and practically met each and every prominent corporate house with a proposal. Not a single one responded. They were interested in making only Hindi films. As a result, he returned empty handed to Mumbai.

That is the time the thought struck our mind. Why go begging to the unknown? Let’s talk to our own family and friends. The response was encouraging. We raised RS 80 lakh within 10 days. Some of it just with a phone call. The fund raising was not through any public appeal or through social media, but the people whom we knew or our family and friends trust us. I tell you, we actually had Rs 1.25 crore when we started shooting.

But is it true that you put ceiling on contributions?

Yes. Because we have to pay back. What if the film flops? We didn’t want to run away. Some people in fact offered to contribute RS 50 and 60 lakh. But we said, No, not a single rupee beyond Rs five lakh. While collecting funds, we always remembered one thing. They are the investors and they need the money more than us. With this simple and practical philosophy, we raised Rs 1.25 crore in-house and Rs 2.75 from outside.

Have you paid back?

Just finished the first round of disbursal. It’s on pro rata basis, based on ratio of investment. Major amount was paid first. In fact every six months we are paying. The loan burden is still there. Not yet reached a break-even point.

I am dead against government funding. I see some films which start with Chief Minister's photograph, thanking him. That is the first step of compromise. 

Is Konkani film worth investing in? Because every film won’t click like NK and get so many awards…?

Award was never our priority, it was secondary. The main motto was to give back to the people what we owe as artists. NK is not an intellectual film, in fact a very simple film. Not a festival film, not even worth getting an award. The awards came as a surprise for us. It’s a story told in a simple manner; but with love and details.

Can a five-crore Konkani film commercially viable?

May be too much. But a film made within a budget of Rs 2.5 to 3 crore should be safe to recover.

Do you think government funding will help produce more Konkani films?

I don’t think so. In fact I am dead against government funding. I see some films which start with a photograph of the Chief Minister and thanking the Government. Whether CM likes it or not is a different issue. But thanking the CM is the first step of compromise. You cannot dedicate it for the right cause. In that sense, government scheme of financial assistance is not the right solution in long term.

Instead, government should create eco-system for the films to release. Get all other Ravindra Bhavans and such government auditoriums equipped to screen the films so that filmmakers can showcase their films and the venues could also sustain it with the film revenue. That would be a much bigger favour the government could do to watch the films.

You mean to say proper infrastructure is more important than financing making of a film?

Right, that’s all we need. That will encourage more right people to do the films. You see, the moment there are schemes, there are schemers. I have been watching discussions on this issue in the film forums. But I don’t think financial scheme is the solution.

But you could make a film because you are based in Mumbai. Goans have always excelled in Mumbai. It is the place to learn. What do you think is needed in Goa to learn and excel? Without going to Mumbai or anywhere else?

Again there is discussion in the forum that certain percentage of Goan artists should be there to consider a film Goan. I don’t think we have reached the stage to claim percentage. First of all there is no film culture developed in Goa. What percentage you are talking about? Though I live in Mumbai, my voting and ration card is still in Canacona. I made the film for the love of Goa, not for money. I can make money if I work for few days in a year in Mumbai.  Advertising is a highly paid profession. I gave it up for four years to make this film, put my energies into it with a sole intention to give something back to your own state. If people look at me as an outsider, it’s unfair.

People have to struggle. There is no other short cut. In Mumbai, anyone can challenge you. You need to work under that pressure.

What prospects do you foresee in young talent entering Konkani films?

I think NK has managed to change the perception that Konkani films are not watched by majority Goans. Even after one year, while reaching out to only 30% of Goan audience, NK is still going houseful. There is a slight surge with more people watching Konkani films and making it commercially successful. I watched ‘Nirmon’ and ‘Hanv Tum Tum Hanv’, I am yet to watch ‘Enemy’ and ‘Home Sweet Home.’ I feel these young filmmakers have raised the standard of Konkani films. Ramprasad Adpaikar, director of ‘Hanv Tum Tum Hanv’ is a young talent and the whole team is young. They have made the film honestly. I met Miransha Naik and his team, who have made the film ‘Juze’. They are very honest, humble and equally talented. These young boys are the future of Konkani cinema.  

But what about the young filmmakers who cannot afford to go outside Goa but want to make a film in Goa? Don’t you think Goa needs a Film Institute now?

I don’t think it is about affording, but struggling. Even we struggled. People have to step out, because it’s a collaborative field. There is no other short cut. I met a young cinematographer. He has done fantastic work, no doubt. But I told him you are doing it in a comfort zone. You have to be thrown to the line. Because in Mumbai, anyone can challenge you. You need to work under that pressure. You have to develop that temperament. Merely having a film institute in Goa will not help. There has to be culture. You have to collaborate with the people who know the craft. I don’t think you can learn it, being in Goa.

The last question. What after Nachom-ia Kumpasar?

Definitely there will be another film. I’ll start writing it now. The era from 1974 to 1985 always fascinates me. I want to address that era. A story will be set into it. I don’t know what it would be. Goa has not documented the past. To arrive at contemporary Goa, there should be at least two more films I would need to do based on the past. Many people are doing films about contemporary Goa. I need not worry about it. I may go backward also, in the history. These films should help future generations to refer to. If I do that, I think I could achieve something what I set out to do and entertain the people. 

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Previous Comments

I had heard of Oscar winners, Oscar Nominated now Mr Prabhudessai has introduced a new category "Oscar entrant'. Good going.

- Abhijeet, Goa | 08 th February 2016 23:37

 

I don't get it why this guys is labeled 'Oscar Entrant', only the winners count all right? Not some 'phony' Oscar association. Secondly I don't see any impact of this movie on the 'serious' movie folks in the world. So stop self and buddy-buddy glorifications.

- Randy, Goa | 08 th February 2016 19:07

 

WELL SAID Bardroy ! We need honest GOEMKARS and FILM PRODUCERS like you to showcase Goa and its Culture ! Keep up the EXCELLENT work ! GOA IS PROUD OF YOU and YOUR TEAM and also all the other hardworking FILM PRODUCERS of Goa ! Wish you all more LAURELS at home and abroad ! GOD BLESS YOUR TALENT AND YOUR EFFORTS to INFORM and FORM the Konkani World !

- Fr. Anthony Fernandes, Panjim | 08 th February 2016 13:57

 

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