Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Goa a ‘hot shot’ tourism destination- film and film producers bringing name and fame for Goa on the silver screen

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Goa and its connection with films is something that goes back a long way. Whether it is the scenery in movies like Ek Duje Ke Liye or the forts that became iconic after Dil Chahta Hai or even the majestic Dudhsagar falls that formed the backdrop for a vital scene in the blockbuster Chennai Express, Goa has always treasured a special place among film makers. It is not just the Indian film industry that’s smitten by Goa, Hollywood too hasn’t escaped the charms of this state. The second of the Bourne series - 'The Bourne Supremacy' was shot in a number of locations, one of them being the picturesque beach state of India, Goa.

It is not just beaches that Goa has to offer. The runaway hit Aashiqui 2 highlighted the gorgeous Panjim Church, Ajab Prem Ki Gazab Kahani highlighted some more unknown locations. Hits like Singham Returns were shot in Aldona, while Finding Fanny, which didn’t feature a single shot of the beach, captured the beauty of the hinterlands of Goa.

The iconic silver screen personality Amitabh Bachchan, whose debut film  Saat Hindustani was shot in Goa, has also shot several other films in Goa one of them being ‘Bhootnath’ developing a close and warm relationship with this state. One of Shah Rukh Khan's best performances in Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa shot the Holy Spirit Church, Margao. His recent  hit Dear Zindagi also  captures  the best of Goa’s heritage and  architecture.

What has also helped is that these movies have done well at the box office, as a result, Goa has added to its repertoire of landmarks to include the ‘Dil Chahta Hai’ Fort or the ‘Singham’ bridge!

The records available with Entertainment Society of Goa (ESG), a state government body dealing with permissions for film shootings, show that even tele-serials and reality shows are stepping into the scene.

There are several reasons why filmmakers choose to shoot in Goa. One is the landscape - the beautiful beaches, water bodies, waterfalls and mountains. The other reason is the architecture - the churches, temples and houses. What also works in the state’s favour is that there is ample amount of connectivity and transport - railways, roadways, airways, waterways, etc.

Accommodation is never a problem – so whether you are looking for resorts, five star hotels, boutique properties, hostels or homestays – Goa has it all. And the last, but certainly one of the most important reason, are the Goans themselves for their warmth and hospitality.  They are non-interfering, friendly; don’t disturb the stars by thronging at the venue of the shoot nor clamor for pictures or autographs. 

What is the reason behind this affinity towards Goa? Several filmmakers say that the calm and peaceful environs of the state forms a perfect backdrop that allows them to pen their stories. During this time, they develop a fondness for the state which leads them to shoot here as well. At the same time, filmmakers also admit that the challenge lies in exploring places in Goa that haven’t been captured on the screen already.

Today Konkani Cinema is also taking the world by storm with some really good quality movies produced by Goan film producers. While budgets may not be as high as those of Bollywood,  yet Konkani films have scored well at the box office and featured in international film festivals and bagged national  and   international laurels. The Goan film industry made a small beginning in the early 60’s.

The first full-length movie was made in 1950 Mogacho Anvddo by Jerry Braganza from Mapusa. Another landmark movie was produced and released in the year 1977 under the title Bhuierantlo Munis which was shot in USA, Paris and Russia and it was produced by Tony Coutinho and Chris Perry under the banner of Chripton Motion Pictures. Since then Konkani cinema has been rolling.

The first Konkani film to make an impact internationally was Laxmikant Shetgaonkar’s Paltadcho Munis (The Man across the Bridge) which won the FIPRESCI award at the Toronto Film Festival in 2009. Amche Noxib (1963), Nirmon (1966) and Bhuierantlo Munis (1977), the first colour film in Konkani are some significant Konkani movies over the years.  Likewise Aleesha (2004) and Antarnaad (2006) won the National Award, while O’Maria (2010) went on to become one of the biggest hits ever. Enemy, Home  Sweet Home,  Nachom-ia-Kumpasar, Digant, K Sera Sera have been  some  recent  successful  Konkani films which have entertained audiences  nationally and globally.

Marathi film producers have also done Goa proud. Films like Eka Sagar Kinare,, Disha, Hello Gandhe Sir, Chandi by Dnyaneshwar Govekar  and  many more have also been  hits at several film festivals.

The International Film Festival India – Goa  which is now  a permanent  festival venue in Goa has  also encouraged Goan film producers  as several Konkani and Marathi films  are being featured in  the Indian Panorama section.  The state government’s financial assistance has also facilitated film producers in Goa to come forth with good quality films. Use of technology and quality content has also given a fillip to Goan cinema.

Realizing the potential  that Goa has for developing Goa  as a Film Tourism Destination,  the government  is proposing  to have various infrastructure facilities in place such as a film city  which will facilitation film production and  various  segments of  film making,  training etc. Providing equipment like cranes, spot lights, reflectors, camera etc. and many other production facilities needed for film shootings and editing will also be an area which will create employment opportunities, directly and indirectly. Today Goa has also got multiplexes in some of its cities and theatres of the past have upgraded to make screenings more comfortable an enjoyable.
Hon’ble Minister for Tourism, Govt. of Goa, Mr. Manohar Ajgaonkar, said “Goa is the most preferred destination for film shootings. Goa’s picturesque locations make it a hot spot for films and producers to come and capture the scenic locations of Goa which includes the beaches, heritage, hinterlands, monsoons, adventure activities, festivals and much more. Goa is all set to organize the annual International Film Festival (IFFI) and will draw the film fraternity and film fans to Goa in large numbers. The Entertainment Society of Goa also plays an important role in easing out procedures and permissions for film shootings in Goa through a single window system. Films produced in Goa serve as a platform for promoting the state nationally and worldwide showcasing its bountiful beauty, facets, avenues and a lot more.”

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