by Tomazinho Cardozo
April 24, 1950 is a date to be remembered because 59 years back, on this day, the first-ever full-fledged Konkani film entitled “Mogacho Anvddo” was released at the Dasharata Cinema in Mapusa. Konkani language and culture for the first time entered the film world, thanks to the pioneering efforts of A L Jerry Braganza, a cinema enthusiast from Mapusa. Braganza did not only produce the film but also acted the male lead role in the film. He is known as Father of Konkani Cinema but rarely remembered for his great contribution to the Konkani silver screen. The Goa government or any other institution working in the field of Konkani never thought of remembering this great personality for all these years. It was only in 2005, after the completion of 55 long years that Dalgado Konkanni Akademi, for the first time, organized a function on April 24 to commemorate the screening of the first Konkani film “Mogacho Anvddo” and to pay homage to the memory of the late A L Jerry Braganza.
During the last 59 years about 40 full length films and over 150 video films were produced in Goa, Maharaxttra and Karnataka. Some of the important films are ‘Mogacho Anvddo’, ‘Sukhachem Sopon’, ‘Amchem Noxib’, ‘Nirmonn’, ‘Mhoji Ghorkarn’, ‘Kortubancho Sonvsar’, ‘Jivit Amchem Oxem’, ‘Mog ani Moipas’, ‘Bhuierantlo Monis’, ‘Suzanne’, ‘Bhogsonne’ etc. In the recent past ‘Alisha’, ‘Sood’, ‘Padri’ and ‘Antarnad’ have entertained the film lovers of Goa and elsewhere. Very few films have become commercially successful. It is because, although all Goans speak Konkani, very few of them make a point to see a Konkani film. I think it is high time that Goans patronize Konkani films so that they (films) become financially viable, otherwise a time may come when no producer will be willing to take the risk of making a Konkani film. Under these circumstances we will lose Konkani films forever and with it a powerful medium of preserving and promoting our culture.
The government of Goa organized the first-ever Konkani Film Festival in 1997. This was the first step on the part of the government to promote Konkani films. Most of the films that participated were video films because of the cost factor of production. From 1997 to 2005, in all three Konkani Film Festivals were organized and awards presented. The Goa government also announced “The Goa Scheme of Financial Assistance for Films”. This scheme provides financial assistance for the production of feature films in Konkani and Marathi and non-feature films including tele-films, short films, and documentaries in Konkani, Marathi, English and Hindi. This scheme envisages grant of financial assistance upto 50% of the cost of production as per the provisions made in the scheme. This scheme which was formulated by the Department of Information & Publicity has been now transferred to the Entertainment Society of Goa (ESG) which deals with all film-related activities in the state. The ESG is in the process of reviewing the said scheme in order to make it more attractive and more beneficial to the producers of Konkani films.
The success of this scheme will depend on both, i.e. the government as well as the producers. The budget provision made by the government for this scheme is of utmost importance. The success of this scheme will depend on the financial support from the government. Secondly the success of this scheme is equally dependent on the producers. Their sincerity and dedication in making films of a high standard is the base of the success. Without being sincere and dedicated to the cause of the development of Konkani cinema, no success can be achieved at any point of time. The unity among the film producers of Goa is also of utmost importance. In a tiny state of Goa, having more than one Association of film producers, is a negative approach towards development of Goan film. Therefore, on this ‘Konkani Cinema Day’ let us resolve to work in unity in order to produce good quality Konkani films and contribute towards the preservation and promotion of Goan culture.