08 Jan 2015 01:28am IST
The opening scene of the Konkani period film Nachom-ia Kumpasar (Lets Dance to the Rhythm) itself gives away that we have a blockbuster on our hands. The high quality production is obvious at the beginning itself with Joe Fernandes singing and playing the piano. The lead heroine Palomi Gosh being a non Goan comes across more Goan than the authentic, and handles her role with elan, even relegating the hero Vijay Maurya to the sideline. Palomi and Vijay are already experienced with movies and ad films to their credits, but hats off to the real hero of the movie, director Bardroy Baretto for spotting talent and bringing out the best from so many amateur actors along the way, most of them acting free of cost and pursue different careers than acting.
Art direction is always difficult in a period film, but in this movie it appears meticulous and the little flaws it has, can be attributed to compromises being made by the director due to its low budget. The film was made with a budget of Rs 3.5 crores, way too high for a Goan Konkani film, but way too low by Bollywood standards. If we have a blockbuster on our hands, then how much should it make in the end to signify success. Just for information, a recent Bollywood film ‘Mary Kom’ was made with a budget of Rs 18 crores including marketing and made nearly four times it invested after deducting exhibitors share.
Bardroy seems apprehensive about the scale of Konkani speaking audience, therefore is taking a complete different route in exhibiting the film. Showing it selectively on his own, without the involvement of exhibitors, he hopes to keep a larger share of the revenue, so as to at least achieve a breakeven and recover his costs within a timeframe. It remains to be seen, as to how he will protect the film from piracy, at different locations, for such a long period of time. Usually, after delivering such a big blockbuster directors take time off from work to receive accolades so as to soak in the success. Not Bardroy, as he still devotes quite a bit of his energy, in making sure the film recovers at least the initial cost.
Bardroy is fortunate that in this movie he had access to twenty timeless Konkani hits, which he placed in the movie with finesse, and there is a chance he might never be able to replicate a movie of this magnitude. However, after making such a fine film, if the movie fails to become a commercial success than there is a absolute chance Bardroy never attempts another project in Konkani. Creative people always maintain they get a high with the critical acclamation they receive and not by box office collections. True to some extent, but if such a high quality film fails on the commercial front, it means a financial blow to the producers, in this case some ninety odd, but more importantly it means majority Goans are not ready to absorb and understand such technical brilliance. It is also a sign for the highly talented Bardroy and the Generation Next Goan film makers that Goa is the wrong place for them to showcase their talent. The loss is Goa’s, because such talent is lapped up anywhere outside the Goan domain. Bardroy himself runs a successful advertising film making company in Mumbai.
Nachom-ia Kumpasar has two scenes which illustrates how Goans spot talent alright, but when it comes to the commercial aspect completely mismanage it. The first scene is when the band is informed by their manager that they have an invitation to perform at a private wedding reception all the way to Goa. The manager incompetence to nurture talent lies exposed, even the band leader in this case the hero of the film readily accepts the offer. Agreed the band is new and struggling and needs to accept any assignment that come their way, but it is a failure on the manager’s part to understand the exceptional talent he his managing.
The second scene is when the lead actor past his prime comes home to his wife and hands over to her the repaired kerosene stove. Agreed his career is on the wane due to his love affair with his muse. But seriously, kerosene stove? The second scene is a result of the first scene and shows how a badly managed talent will surely land on hard times once their career comes to an end. Taking into consideration both scenes are dramatized in the film, the message is still clear. If a great composer has to struggle to make ends meet and cannot afford even small luxuries, what should lesser talented Goans anticipate?
Even if half of the Goa’s population living in Goa watches this film, it should make much more money than what ‘Mary Kom’ made for its producer. But for that to happen, Goans will have to keep aside their allegiance towards their favorite groups and cultures and watch the film without bias. Creative work usually breaks all barriers and time has come for Goans to start appreciating good work that might not necessarily come from their own preferred faction. If we want to motivate creative talent of our Generation Next, then Goans will have to come out of their comfort zone and make sure we are broadminded enough, ready to applaud excellent creative work cutting across different cultures, commercial success can only be guaranteed then.
Commercial success is important, so as to not end up financial stressed like the hero of the movie. It will also encourage and set a benchmark to attract more talent towards creating excellent work. Otherwise we will have to depend on part-time actors taking time out from their careers and contributing towards these types of projects only because they love Goa.
At the premier show of the film on December 4, at Margao most of the first-time actors were ecstatic at the audience response, thrilled at the attention and appreciation they received from the audience, they knew they were part of something special. Unfortunately Joe Fernandes the band player at the opening scene was absent; he had to leave the previous night to join the ship and could not stay back for a day and although his family was present he missed his day in the sun. So that genuine creative Goans make it their full time career and pursue excellence in whatever they do, it is time Goa starts respecting creative people with financial success.
(Plastino D’Costa is a business consultant)