Global Views
   Middle East & Africa
 Embassy News
 Arts & Living
 Travel & Hotel
 Medical Tourism New
 Letters to Editor
 Photo Gallery
 News Media Link
 TV Schedule Link
 News English
 Hospitals & Clinics
 Flea Market
 Moving & Packaging
 Religious Service
 Korean Classes
 Korean Weather
 Real Estate
 Home Stay
 Room Mate
 English Teaching
 Job Offered/Wanted
 Hotel Lounge
 Foreign Exchanges
 Korean Stock
 Business Center
 PR & Ads
 Arts & Performances
 Restaurants & Bars
 Tour & Travel
 Shopping Guide
 Foreign Missions
 Community Groups
 Foreign Workers
 Useful Services
 ST Banner Exchange
International Film Festival of India
Goa Festival Not God's Own
By Gautaman Bhaskaran
South Asia Editor
India's Railway Minister Mamta Banerjee opening the Film Festival. Bollywood star Ajay Devgn is second from right in the picture.

Goa has a new halo. At the ongoing International Film Festival of India of India party, one of the organizers took the microphone and asked the guests what “Goa” stood for. Of course nobody had a clue. It stands for “God’s Own Abode”, he answered himself. There was thunderous applause. So, some of the guests quipped, Kerala has competition. “God’s Own Country” has “God’s Own Abode” to reckon with.

But the Festival, now on in Goa, hardly seems to be God’s Own. With a whopping budget of Rs 8 crores (with another Rs 4 crores reportedly coming from sponsors), the conveniences are scandalously inadequate. Here is one telling example. A few nights ago, a little past midnight, renowned Polish director Jan Jakub Kolski, whose excellent cinema is part of the Festival’s much publicised, much honoured retrospective, found himself stranded without any transport after one of his own screenings. Movie director and head of the L.V. Prasad Film and TV Academy in Chennai, K. Hariharan, who happened to be with Kolski (and had hoped to hitch a ride back with him), tells me that they had to literally beg passing vehicles for a lift to their hotel, Cida de Goa, located several miles away.

When confronted with this issue, the Festival administration said that hospitality and transport were the responsibility of the State Government’s Entertainment Society of Goa. But who is going to understand this? Not Kolski. Not anybody else from France or Germany or England or just about anywhere else. And, why should they?

It is sad that the most important guests of India’s premium Festival are abandoned once they land in Goa, and appear to be facing the most trying times. I wonder whether these men will even vaguely feel that they are in God’s Own Abode!

The reason for such glitches is apparently the presence of too many organisations spoiling, and thoroughly spoiling, what used to be a wonderful Festival. The Directorate of Film Festivals, which conducts the 11-day annual cinema event, seems to be at loggerheads with the Entertainment Society, which controls hospitality and transport. Both are a sham this year. To begin with, there are several Festival hotels this time, compared to just one in the past. Invited guests tell me that on arriving at the airport, nobody around had a clue about the hotel they were supposed to be booked in. Some were sent to the wrong destinations, and they spent a good part of the day hotel hopping.

Also, the biggest advantage in having a single Festival hotel is that it facilitates easy interaction among journalists and movie-makers. Is this not what a festival is all about?

The transport for invited guests and others this year has been woefully inadequate. And with screenings and functions stretching late into the night, it is a nightmare to find transport back to one’s hotel. What is worse, there really is no public transport system worth the name here. Even autorickshaws are scarce.

If all is not well between the Society and the Directorate, the National Film Development Corporation of India, which organises a four-day movie market during the Festival, appears to be getting more and more alienated from the main event. The world over, market is an essential and integral part of a festival. But not so at Goa. The Corporation believes in a kind of exclusivity that is intimidating. Its impressive list of invitees this year, including celebrated Turkish helmer Fatih Akin, renowned critic Derek Malcolm, Venice Festival Director Marco Mueller and Cannes Festival Deputy General Delegate Christian Jeune among others were treated as “exclusives”. The much-needed interaction between them and the main Festival was not really encouraged. Akin’s master class was not officially open to the Festival delegates or guests, and was held at Hotel Marriott, the market venue which is a 10-minute drive from the main Festival complex.

Malti Sahai, a former IFFI Director, felt it was such a pity that someone like Akin could not be seen at the Festival complex interacting with the guests and others. “A lot of people would have liked to have met him and even attended his class”, she added.

Obviously, a healthier coordination, cooperation and, above all, camaraderie, is essential if the Festival is to make an impact at all. More, so if Goa is to remain the permanent Festival venue. The whispering campaign that began a couple of years ago to take the Festival back to Delhi and its huge Siri Fort complex has grown louder this year. It is almost a scream now.

Love in the time of Boat Wreck:

One of the most interesting entries at the Festival was Rituparno Ghosh’s “Noukadubi” (Boat Wreck). Ghosh has always evoked extreme reactions. Some adore his work. Some hate it. But, like every other helmer anywhere in the world, Ghosh’s palate is mix of movies that are touching and not so touching. I really did not like his “Chokher Bali” or “The Last Lear”, but was impressed with his “Raincoat” and “Abohoman” among a few others.

“Noukadubi” (once made in Hindi as “Ghunghat”) is a lyrical, almost poetic, look at one of Rabindranath Tagore’s classic short stories about how a boat accident on a swollen, storm swept river plays havoc with the lives of four people.

Kolkata law student Ramesh (played by Jisshu Sengupta) is deeply in love with Hemnalini (Raima Sen), but on his father’s insistence and moved by a widow’s plight, he marries her daughter Susheela. On their journey back from their village to Kolkata, their boat sinks. When Ramesh wakes up after having been washed ashore, he finds a young woman in a bridal costume lying near him, and she is alive. Ramesh, who has never seen his own bride (as was the custom then, since women remained behind a “ghungat”), assumes that the woman must indeed be his wife.

Back in Kolkata, Ramesh and his new bride, Kamala (Riya Sen), gradually realise that both had been married to different people. “Noukadubi” in its own languorous, though lovely way, takes us towards the truth, slowly peeling off the layers of lie. Ghosh, who wrote the screenplay, is in no hurry to reach the climax. Will Ramesh and Hemnalini meet again? Will Kamala find her real husband, Nalinaksha (Prosenjit Chatterjee)? But to find that out, we have to move through time and a couple of cities, including Varanasi.

This is first time that both the Sen sisters, granddaughters of the legendary Bengali actress, Suchitra Sen, have come together in a film, though they do not at any point of time share screen space. Much has been written about Raima, and obviously so. For, she is undoubtedly a good actress.

However, Riya seems equally talented. Largely a part of the Bollywood masala, Riya will surprise those who may have given up on her. As a demure wife in “Noukadubi”, she is arresting, and would hopefully add to the much-need Indian talent basket.

Gautaman Bhaskaran has been watching IFFI for a quarter century.

Related Articles
    Tiger Man Mike Pandey
    Egypt's First Edition of El Gouna Film ...
    El Gouna Film Festival Opens with Sheikh ...
    New Egypt's El Gouna Film Festival to Add ...
    India Stands Shamed after Racial Attacks near ...
    The Dashing Pedro Almodovar to Chair Cannes ...
    Korean Cinema Comes to Chennai in India
    The Horror of Custodial Death
    Modi Is the Man We Need in India
    Mumbai’s Child King
    The Cocktail at Cannes
    Cannes Film Fest Begins on a Hollywood Note
    Mumbai Terrorized Again
    Venice Lines Up Impressive Jury
    Cannes Film Fest Begins on a Delightful Note
    No Indian Movie at the Festival
    Meaningless Film Censorship
    This Bloody Life!
    Mumbai and Pusan Film Fest Establish Ties
    On Road, in Rage
    India Picks Wrong Films for Oscars
    Robert De Niro to Head Cannes Film Fest Jury
    Someone Killed Jessica, But of Course!
    Middle Eastern Cinema Hits Hard
    Dubai Film Fest Opener
    Dubai Film Fest to Unravel Diverse Selection
    Indian Police Cut Corners to Tackle Crime
    "West Is West" Sets IFFI Sailing
    Fine Cinema at the Coming Dubai Film Festival
    "The King's Speech" to Set the Fest Rolling
    Abu Dhabi Film Festival a Fantastic Mix of ...
    "Adoor Gopalakrishnan: A Life in Cinema" ...
    The Venetian Storm
    Frieda's Venice
    Jafar Panahi's Music Soothes Souls
    "Black Swan" Opens Venice Festival
    Festival to Bounce with Youthful Energy
    Shame and Scandal Plague Commonwealth Games
    Child Needs Compassion, Not Cane
    A Beast Called Beauty
    Adoor Gopalakrishnan: A Life in Cinema
    Bhopal Gas Tragedy: A Crime Called Bhopal
    Honour Killings Are India's Shame
    Cannes Film Festival And Poetry
    Cannes More Art Than Glamour This Time
    An Indian Pilgrimage to Cannes
    Maoist Rebellion in India
    Asians to Carry the Torch at Cannes
    Cannes Film Festival and Probables
    "Robin Hood" to Open Cannes Film Festival
    Persecution of Artists
    The Only Two Real Races This Year
    Curry Bashing in Australia
    US Director Tim Burton to Lead Cannes Jury
    India's Car Boom Creates Its Own Chaos
    Making Idiots Out of Men
    Indian Girls Find Paris Hilton’s Shoes Too Hot
    Mexican Film Wins Top Prize at Marrakech
    Ben Kingsley Hopes to Be an Envoy for Cinema
    Movie Director Hopes Obama Would Solve the ...
    Nandita Das on Marrakech Jury
    A Decaying Film Festival
    Marrakech Festival a Boon for Local Cinema
    Panorama Selection Questionable
    IFFI to Open on a Note of Visual Lyricism
    South Korea to Be Focus at the Film Fest
    Dalai Lama’s Tawang Visit Vexes Beijing
    Why Mumbai Film Fest Scores over Goa
    Mumbai’s Young Movie Critics Ready to Tear ...
    India Is Still Hungry for Food
    Honor Killing through Lens at Mumbai Festival
    11th Mumbai Film Festival to Open with Matt ...
    Film Festival to Showcase Some Gems
    Can India Host 2010 Commonwealth Games?
    A New Irritant in India-China Ties
    The Venetian Sorrow
    The Tiger War
    Israeli War Film Wins Venice’s Top Golden Lion
    Politicians Livid over Festival Movie
    "Bad Lieutenant" Creates Bad Blood between Two ...
    Clooney and Damon Star Attractions at Venice
    Muslim Bashing Must End
    Mumbai Film Festival Prizes to Be among the ...
    An Indian Juror in De Sica Land
    India's Gays Can Now Love without Fear
    Moore's "Capitalism," 70 Other Films to ...
    An Indian Summer at the Lagoon City
    Festival May Be Strong on European Fare
    A Tamil Film with a Difference
    Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince: But ...
    India Is Racist Too
    Hollywood Bungles in Bollywood
    The Tragic Tale of the Indian Tiger
    Cannes Jury Honors Chilling Tales
    Lars Von Trier’s Sex and Horror
    Gems and the Cannes Film Festival
    Market and the Cannes Film Festival
    Keats Poetry, Campion’s Reading
    Lou Ye’s Controversial Disaster
    Clash of Titans on the Croisette
    Sexy Sirens and Political Propagandists
    Is Sharmila Tagore the Right Choice for Cannes ...
    The Stars in Cannes’ Dark Skies
    Cannes Courts Controversy
    Indian Elections: A Circus of Villains
    Festival Unveils Lineup of Masters
    Beyond Bollywood’s Melodramatic Mishmash
    India's Infrastructure at Breaking Point
    Guessing the Festival Goodies
    Kate Winslet the New Face of Brilliance
    Tarantino’s ‘Basterds’ to Spit Fire at Fest
    Animated Film, Up, to Open Festival
    Smoking Screen
    Oscar-Rich Penelope Set to Master English
    Cannes Honours Clint Eastwood
    Renowned French Star to Chair Cannes Jury
    Fable of Mr Benjamin Button: Riveting Cinema
    The Mangalore Molest
    Aamir Khan Film Is a Bad Copy
    It May Well Be the End of Agony in Sri Lanka
    Woody Allen’s "Vicky Cristina Barcelona"
    International Film Festival of India
    Mumbai Terror
    Marrakech Int'l Film Festival Has Grown
    Marrakech Int'l Film Festival
    Marrakech International Film Festival
    Shambled Secularism
    Benegal’s Sajjanpur
    Venice Festival Blues
    Venice under the Hollywood Spell ?
    A Riveting Movie on Islam's Crisis
    Venice Festival a Haven for World Premieres
    Pakistani Films Come to India, at Last!
    Tamil Super Hero Rises Again
    The Comic Fantasy
    The Smoking Screen!
    Bollywood and Beyond at Stuttgart
    New Film May Spell Hope for Bollywood
    Indian Cinema Feeds Deceit
    An Indian Film on an American Power Plant
    India Not At Cannes
    Cannes Line-Up
    Writer Taslima Nasreen Forced Out of India
    India Inspires World Fashion
    Mills & Boon
    "Jodhaa Akbar" Creates Controversy in India
    Sania Mirza Subject to Ridicule in Native India
    Sarkozy and Bruni Love Causes Moral Outrage
    India and the Oscars
    Marrakech International Film Festival Reviewed
    Paranoid Park
    Cannes 2007: Killings
    The Spy Case
    The Good and the Not So Good
    Bollywood Superman
    First Kashmiri Film in 20 Years
    Chinese Influence Seems Unstoppable
    Cannes Film Festival 2006: Minimalism, Too
    Cannes Fest Prizes
    Cannes Film Festival 2006: Great Delights
    The Da Vinci Code
    Missing Tigers
    The Despair of Tibetans
    Trilateral Stratagem To Slow China's Growth
    Sri Lanka Crisis
    Hollywood Movies Doing Well In India
    Peace Pipe
    Mangal Pandey: The Rising
    Honda Clash
    Bush-Manmohan Singh Pact
    Satyajit Ray, Still India's Most Noted Movie ...
    Ban on Cigarettes in India
    "Match Point" Excoriated by Britons
    Crisis In India’s Hindu Nationalist Party
    Manmohan Singh’s One Year
    58th Cannes International Film Festival Begins
    Indo-Pakistan Cricket Diplomacy
    U.S. Visa Refusal
    The 7th Deauville Asian Film Festival Closes
    Seedy Film Journalism
    Indian Tigers Butchered in Broad Daylight
    No Oscar for Scorsese, Yet Again
    Nepal in Turmoil As King Sacks PM Deuba
    History Repeats in Struggle for Free Press
    India Could Have Prevented Tsunami Deaths
    Argue over Freedom on Internet
    "City of Gold" Dubai Stands like Oasis in ...
    Towards a Solution to the Kashmir Problem
    India & China Rising
    Bush Victory and India
    Indian Robinhood
    After 9/11, World Links Muslim with Violence
    India's Great Heritage Taj Mahal in Danger
    "Kashmir": A Never Ending Thorny Issue
    The Village -- A Silly Joke
    Jakarta Bombing Aimed at Aussie ...
    Millions of Indians Go to Bed Hungry
    Sri Lanka's Ethnic War Knows No End
    Over 600 Tibetan Monks, Nuns Should Be Freed
    India's Schoolgirl Killer Hanged in Controversy
    3 Kidnapped Indians Endure Agonizing Torture
    Musharraf's Sets Deadline on Kashmir
    Usefulness of Nepalese Monarchy in Question
    Temple of Learning Turns into Grave of Death
    AIDS Keeps Threatening the Poor in Asia, Africa
    Fearful of Dowry Parents Kill Newborn Girls
    Hot Discussion on Death Penalty in India
    India's Flag of Democracy Kept Unfurled
    Politics Dominates Cannes Int'l Film Festival
    Intolerance Grows before India General Election
    Fears of Strife Continue in Sri Lanka
    Torture, Rape Occur in Indian Classroom
    World Leaders Must Take Stand against Nukes
    India's Cities Prosper as Country Folk Starve
    India, Pakistan Form Friendly Ties
    Cell Phones Bring Joy, Sorrow World Over

Other Articles by Gautaman Bhaskaran
Tiger Man Mike Pandey
Egypt's First Edition of El Gouna Film ...
El Gouna Film Festival Opens with Sheikh ...
New Egypt's El Gouna Film Festival to Add ...
India Stands Shamed after Racial Attacks ...

Gautaman Bhaskaran is a veteran film critic and writer who has covered Cannes and other major international festivals, like Venice, Berlin, Montreal, Melbourne, and Fukuoka over the past two decades. He has been to Cannes alone for 15 years. He has worked in two of India’s leading English newspapers, The Hindu and The Statesman, and is now completing an authorized biography of India’s auteur-director, Adoor Gopalakrishnan. Penguin International will publish the book, whose research was funded by Ford Foundation.






The Seoul Times, Shinheung-ro 36ga-gil 24-4, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, Korea 04337 (ZC)
Office: 82-10-6606-6188
Copyrights 2000 The Seoul Times Company  ST Banner Exchange