Thursday 17 June 2021

News Analysed, Opinions Expressed


Goa may lose IFFI "permanently"


Goa might lose the opportunity of hosting this event any more. If the state government does not take preventive action and make necessary changes in the formation of ESG, the agency that is instrumental in creating efficiency at the ground level, the IFFI would change its venue this year; or may be next year.

It’s now clear. Sooner or later, Goa is going to lose the opportunity hosting the 42-year old prestigious International Film Festival of India. The Entertainment Society of Goa, the local host, has been repeatedly warned to improve upon the organizational aspects of IFFI. But alas, the officials at the ESG have apparently closed their eyes and ears to constructive criticism.

It has been seven years now since IFFI was brought to Goa to make it a permanent venue. The state Government created the technically perfect Inbox auditorium and ensured that it gets enough public exposure. Goans thronged to watch the miracle called IFFI. Over the years, IFFI became popular; and equally unpopular. For the last three years, ESG has been creating parallel events during IFFI, right in the INOX courtyard. In addition is the faulty ticketing system, shabby anchoring and, not to forget, the cat and mouse fights at the red carpet. One of the film associations held dharna at the festival venue while another one simply boycotted IFFI.

As one renowned filmmaker commented, “the focus of IFFI in Goa seems to be parties, fashion and Tamasha...”

The colossal confusion continued till last year.  ESG seems to have forgotten the basic purpose of its formation - to facilitate the most prestigious international film festival. The ESG has to provide major logistic areas like transport, accommodation, food and publicity. But it appears that the ESG officials either did not understand its prime role or else they had other interests in spending more money from the public coffers of Goa Government.

 Many Goans have been consistently criticizing the ESG for spending around Rs eight crore during IFFI.  The amount of expenditure shot up to Rs 13 crore last year. The CEO of ESG claims that increased number of delegates has caused the escalation. But the state government does not spend on food, accommodation or transport of the delegates. Then how come the budget increased drastically?

It is pertinent to note that till last year, the MOU with the DFF clearly empowered the ESG to bring in sponsorships and retain it exclusively. IFFI was actually a blessing in disguise. The ESG could have brought in sponsorships and make it sustainable. Even a small cultural programme in Goa generates sponsorships; but not IFFI? The RTI figures reveal that not even five per cent of the total amount spent by Goa government has been recovered through sponsorships.  Rather than generating funds for fill ESG coffers, the CEO of ESG has been giving press statements of protecting interests of Goa by bringing back Permanent status for Goa in the MOU. Goa’s interest would have been protected had CEO worked towards bringing in sponsorships in the last three years. How does one otherwise justify such a huge public spending on a film festival? How can a small state like Goa afford such a luxury?

Cannes, Berlin, Toronto and most of the international film festivals are successful because they bring in at least 50 percent sponsorships. A festival need not be a profit-making proposition, but the ESG should be made answerable to the fact that why it is not being made sustainable. It’s a matter of utilization of public funds. Do the Chairman, Vice Chairman, Governing Council of the ESG discuss about brandings and sponsorships for IFFI?  It is strange and also immoral that the Governing Council does not have representation from the film fraternity. Half of its members are either politicians or bureaucrats while few amongst others have direct stake in the tenders floated for IFFI. How can members, who have no experience or connection with the film festivals, have anything to discuss or question the policies proposed by the CEO? The political appointments at the ESG have ruined the chances of a prosperous IFFI in Goa. Almost every celebrity has urged ESG to bring in professionals, who can manage such an important and prestigious event of this nation.

Few years back the word hotel was conveniently replaced by ‘Beach resort’ from the MOU. This year, the state government is insisting on having opening ceremony of IFFI at Ravindra Bhavan in Margao. The auditorium at Margao is perfect for cultural programmes and can be utilised for day-to-day screenings. However the opening and closing ceremony of the festival has to adhere to international standards. IFFI has received FIAPF (International Federation of Film Producers, Paris) recognition after consistent performance.  If a hotel receives a five star grade, it cannot reduce the standards or else it loses the accreditation. A similar criterion applies to a film festival which has FIAPF recognition.  How can IFFI lower its standards? Rather, the state Government should work on making Ravindra Bhavan on par with INOX projections. The state Government should also be ready to face the consequences of shifting the dignitaries, media personnel and the delegates from Panaji to Margao on a busy evening. One vague reason being floated that the opening ceremony is pushed to Ravindra Bhavan since Margao is the Chief Minister’s constituency. Does that mean that the venue of opening ceremony would keep on changing as Goa changes its chief minister?  

The ESG may CHOOSE to ignore the constructive criticism, but IFFI is watched and observed by worldwide delegates, filmmakers, media and the ministry itself. That is the reason the Ministry of I&B has deleted the crucial clause of “permanent venue” from the MOU. Who is responsible for this?  There was confusion within the ministry and the film fraternity of India whether Goa is the right venue or not. Over the years, the management of the IFFI has turned from bad to worse. Now, we are on a threshold of a major change. Goa might lose the opportunity of hosting this event any more. If the state government does not take preventive action and make necessary changes in the formation of ESG, the agency that is instrumental in creating efficiency at the ground level, the IFFI would change its venue this year; or may be next year. IFFI might exit from Goa, but the worst part is that it would be a tight slap on the face of Goans, who otherwise boost to be the best host in this country.

Disclaimer: Views expressed above are the author's own.

i agree with shri barad.our elders in goa used to refer to us goans with three Firangi verbs.{ firangi also starts with F }. beber,comer and the third which starts also with is also a verb with 5 letters.if i spell it here,it may not be published,although even the so called white callered hip.goans use it in firangi form or its konkani/english version. so LONG live THE Fs.

ghatiyo de belganv |

In one way, what Barad says is true that Goa is being demonstrated as a state for Fish, Fenni and Films; for footballers, most of them have left the state or the country, and companies have started taking in foreign players into it. Goans look in for better career outside the state, why don't we start putting in our state giving better education or medication.

Anthony Crasto |

To UG Barad:::: I agree with the main thrust of your comment.

The IFFI is purely a "prestigious" occasion for the benefit and service of the uneducated Goan MLA`s and their families & coteries. It has absolutely no visible benefit for "common man" as you rightly state. Like you say, it does not bring in any major foreign exchange or any other financial or cultural benefits. On the contrary is has been involved in major SCAMS and is a burden on the exchequer. It seems like it is an occasion for the elite and "moneybags" Goans .

I disagree with you on the Football aspect. Goans through the ages have not been provided with proper facilities, sponsorships, Grounds or coaching. The Goa Government is keener on promoting clandestine MATKA and gambling. However things might change as some UK Premiership Football clubs are now sponsoring, mentoring and coaching some Goan youth / boys for raising standards in Goa /India for the future. Many Goan boys still have to rely on a proper “9 to 5” job, in pursuit of their footballing ambitions and for the greater good of their State.

In summary, Goa would benefit far more from good sporting & coaching venues /complexes, than the IFFI. Football is played for most of the year. The IFFI just a one-off annual function for the prestige of Goan MLA`s , their families & Guests.

N.Fernandes |


What do you mean 'players of international standards!'.

Hundreds of Goan Players have represented India at International competitions and have brought laurels to Goa and India.

If you say why Indian players are not playing in top leagues in Europe, then the reasons are far beyond the two 'f's, Fish and Feni.

BTW, how did you come to conclusion that all the football players are 'Feni' drinkers?

Anton |

Goans know only four “Fs”. Three Fs were being implanted in Goans during Portuguese rule. The fourth F is tossed by Goa government to keep every Goan in tranquilization state. Yes, I’m talking about Football, Fish, Fenny and Filmy chakkar. Now see how these four Fs ruin Goans and their thinking process!!

Since past 3 - 4 hundred years ago, Goans are known to be busy playing FOOTBALL and yet Goan has not produced football players of international standards! Why? Answer is simple – after playing they fill hungry and they resort to eating lots of FISH with supposedly refreshing and relaxing FENNY. This was the lifestyle of most Goans during Portuguese regime. To add to Goans sussegad attitude, off late, Goa government has added new F in FILMY CHAKAR to keep Gaons in a state to tranquilization!!

To keep Goans in this state, Goa government has equated IFFI to be only parties, fashion shows, and other related tamashas. IFFI in no way generate any funds rather its organization compels Goa government to spent tax payers money. And where is the money spent, surprisingly in building up prospects of organizers kith and kin. In all frankness, Goa cannot afford on spending on such unwanted lavish. I personally feel, Goa should not host IFFI permanently. It is better IFFI goes out of Goa permanently and as fast as is possible. Goa cannot afford such luxury.

U. G. Barad |

रेस्टलेस सी, ह्या दिसांनी रेस्ट घेतला काय किते रे बाब?

Vinay |

It is better Goa loses IFFI permanently. It will be a great thing to happen Goa if that happens. I wish it happens sooner then later.

Anton |

Rs 13 crores expenditure for a small State like Goa is too big a burden for the tax payers to bear. May be the exit of the IFFI may prove a boon in disguise as it would save this expenditure which has not shown any tangible gains to the States--other than giving some money to spend --from the public exchequer-- in the hands of the workers/supporters of the Party in power. Instead it could benefit if some good encouragement in form of financial aid is given to able film personnel like Mr. Shetgaonker--who have brought glory to Goa by giving films which find international Laurels.

The IFFI appears like a big Carnival where the Bureaucrats and Politicians spend the public money lavishly and accommodate their kith and kin in various committees of IFFI in one place or other. And that too when such public money is spent by raising debt burden on the future generations--it is very difficult to justify such huge spending.....

vishwas prabhudesai |

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Laxmikant Shetgaonkar

Laxmikant Shetgaonkar is a Goan filmmaker of international repute, presently shuttles between Goa and Mumbai. He has created history with his first Konkani film “Paltadacho Munis” (A Man Beyond the Bridge) winning the most prestigious FIPRESCI award, also known as Discovery Award of the Critics, at Toronto International film festival in 2009. His first short film “Eka Sagar Kinari” had also bagged a National Award, the first one for Goa once again, in 2005. Laxmikant graduated in Theatre Arts from Kala Academy, Goa. He was an Actor-Teacher at India’s prestigious theater training school, National School of Drama, New Delhi. Overwhelmed with the quality of world cinema, he decided to take up the medium of cinema to express his concerns. He has also started a cinema movement in Goa, by forming Entertainment Network of Goa. He has also directed many more films. He has figured in the Top Ten youngest achievers of India in Sun magazine in 1995. His profile and activities are available on his website .


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