A prize winning Enemy?
‘Enemy?’, the much acclaimed 2015 Konkani film that has bagged several awards, including the National Award has achieved another milestone; receiving the Best Foreign Language Film Award at the Milan Film Festival this year. Café interacts with a few members of team ‘Enemy?’ on the occasion“We were quite aware that our film ‘Enemy?’ would be received well, but honestly, I never thought about any awards. All I wanted to do is take the film to the masses. The awards are pleasant surprises,” expresses a humble Dinesh Bhonsle, as he talks about the recognition his Konkani directorial venture ‘Enemy?’ has received, since its release. After bagging the prestigious National Film Award earlier this year, and receiving much acclaim as well as awards at film festivals across India and world, the film has added another feather to its cap, as it has received the ‘Best Foreign Language Film Award’ at the Milan Film Festival this year.
‘Enemy?’ traces the life of a Goan Catholic family that loses its property to the Government, under the Enemy Property Act, and their family honour is at stake. Sanjit, the son who is a soldier, has to fight a battle to gain it back. Directed by Dinesh Bhonsle and produced by A Durga Prasad, the cast of the film includes Dr Meenacshi Martins, Salil Naik, Rajive Hede, Samiksha Desai, Antonio Crasto and Nitin Kolvekar. It was the universal appeal of the film that made it click everywhere across the world, feels Director, Bhonsle as though the story is set in Goa, and the characters and backdrop are very much Goan, the issue it talks about can happen anywhere in India, and in other countries as well. “In fact, what I noticed from the feedback I received was that many people didn’t even know about the ‘Enemy Property Act’ before they watched the film. And this is not just in Goa, but wherever the film was screened. In Goa, I know of many people who looked into their property papers after watching the film. So, in a way, the film has served as a means of generating awareness,” Dinesh adds. “I still can’t believe our film has won such a prestigious honour!” exclaims Dr Meenacshi Martins as she happily talks about the film. “At the Milan Film Festival, ‘Enemy?’ was competing against some of the best films from all over the world; so a Konkani Film receiving the award at such a level is unbelievable, yet it is a very proud moment. I am very happy for all Goans, and for the Konkani film industry. I am happy to be a part of the team that took Konkani cinema to an international platform. ‘Nachom-ia Kumpasar’ took the first step in this direction, and we are happy to be following suit,” Meenacshi maintains. ‘Enemy?’ has been screened at various film festivals including Kolkata, Nasik, Haryana, Delhi, Milan, London, Melbourne, etc. “We have received great response from the audience as well as critics wherever we screened the film. Audiences are usually surprised, as the content of the film is not at all predictable. Also, though the subject is universal, the film is very much Goan. It captures the essence of Goan life, and that is what makes the film so remarkable and special to the audience,” explains Dinesh. “The choices made by the filmmakers are fundamental in determining the success of the film,” states Dinesh adding, “The better films we make, the higher the standard of Konkani cinema will be raised, and we will get a better response from the audience as well as critics.” He also asserts that in order to get a larger audience for Konkani cinema, theatres and screenings have to be made available in the rural areas as well. Salil Naik, who plays the protagonist in the film is happy and proud to be a part of ‘Team Enemy?’. “It feels great! This is the first time a Goan film has won an award at Milan, and it feels proud to be a part of this film, which is also doing really well in other parts of world. What makes these achievements even more special for me is that this is my first film, and it has given me recognition. I won the Best Actor Award at the Haryana International Film Festival. It’s all just overwhelming,” he expresses. According to Meenacshi, hardly any Konkani filmmakers have a full-proof screenplay ready before the shoot begins. “Lack of research affects the quality of the film. Only after rigorous research, hard work and innovation, success will follow. Everything has to be authentic, and only then will it touch the heart of the audience. The newest technology has to be incorporated, subjects have to be Goa-centric, and stories need to be powerful. I am sure new generation in the Konkani film industry is putting in that extra effort, and I am certainly looking forward to better Konkani cinema in future,” she asserts.
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