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The first International Konkani Film Festival in Kuwait was a celebration of cinema that will certainly be talked about for years to come.

The festival spread over two days (February 25th and 26) brought a continuous flow of audience to the American International School auditorium.

The fest's forward-looking heart is apparent from the words of chief organizer Carmo Santos who expressed a dream to make the event an annual platform for Konkani film premieres and award ceremonies.

Sunil Jain, Indian Ambassador to Kuwait, chief guest at one of the movies, had a word of praise for Goan Cultural Centre-Kuwait, that arranged the festival in association with T-Bush International Films and the Konkani community of the Holy Family Cathedral.

“It is a delight to know this is the first international Konkani film festival and Kuwait is the host,” stated Jain, adding, “we shall support Konkani art, language and films, always.”

It should be noted Konkani films has a limited scope. Just a handful of Goan and Mangalorean films are produced in a year. Limited audience, difference in dialects and lack of resources has been a drawback to Konkani cinema for long.

However, this has gradually vanished with the release of great movies in recent times. Many Goan stars are seen in Mangalorean movies while Mangalorean artistes are working together in Goan films too.

Ester Noronha, lead actress of NoshibachoKhell, who was present at the festival, has sung for Nachom-ia Kumpasar and is lined up to feature in a forthcoming Goan film.

Select movies that were screened at the Kuwait festival included Big Ben, Nirmon, Home Sweet Home-2, Enemy, Noshibacho Khell, and Nachom-ia Kumpasar.

A number of dignitaries, personalities and artistes representing films were in Kuwait to be part of the festival.

Present among the special invitees were Glen Barretto - producer, and Simon D'Silva - Co-producer of Nachom-ia Kumpasar; SwapnilShetkar - producer/writer/director/, and John D'Silva - lead star of Home Sweet Home-2; NileshNewalkar and Armando Fernandes - producers of Nirmon; Mark de Araujo - producer/writer/director/lead actor of Big Ben; Henry D'Silva - producer and Ester Noronha - lead actress of Noshibacho Khell.

In his vote of thanks Carmo Santos specially singled out Tibush Rebello of T-Bush International Films for praise in making the festival a success and the Kuwait Church for supporting the film festival.

He also thanked all sponsors, supporters, volunteers, executive members of Goan Cultural Centre-Kuwait, all dignitaries, directors, producers, artistes who attended the festival.

During the closing ceremony Carmo expressed sadness that some elements of the Goan community wanted to disrupt the festival.

The two-day festival was compered by Anjali Amonkar and Gasper Crasto.

In a statement, Carmo revealed that funds raised from the Konkani Film Festival shall be donated towards the construction of Bahrain Cathedral.

Dedicated to Our Lady of Arabia, once completed, the cathedral will be the biggest church in the Middle East Gulf holding 2,600 congregants at a time, and will serve about 2.5 million Catholics.


A review of the movies:

BIG BEN

Written, directed, edited by Mark de Araujo, who also plays the lead role, BIG BEN is a film which will surely capture hearts of Goans connected to friends and families living in the UK.

The film reveals some of the unknown lifestyles of Goans living in the UK, their hardships, lustful addiction to gambling, immoral bondages related to their life, and their influence on families back home in Goa.

The movie displays some of London's landmark monuments including the famous Big Ben tower clock (which identifies the message of the main character), and explores into a number interesting must see facts that are well presented by Mark de Araujo in words that weep and tears that speak.

Someof the dialogues and language used has a true-to-life flair and alluring effect to watch the movie with interest.

Big Ben’s title track ‘Eio London-cheaXharant’ sung by playback singer Veeam Braganza is perhaps one of the best title tracks among the screened movies.

Jessica Gomes, in the role of a wife, has done super acting, the way she is picturized in every scene is highly commendable.

The role of Steffi Goes, as ‘girlfriend’ needs special recognition too.

Mark de Araujo's acting in the movie and his stellar screen presence promises a star on the horizon for future Konkani films,and a filmmaker of immense vision and creativity.

NIRMON

Anagha Joshi’s perfection in the role of Claudia, flawless‘artistes’selection for all characters, beautiful 'photography', perfect edit, and the immortal songs and dialogues of the film is what makes the film so iconic and popular.

Incidentally, the audio CD of the film was released in Kuwait.

NIRMON will surely remain as one of the best films ever made in Konkani.

HOME SWEET HOME – II

Home Sweet Home-2, a sequel to its earlier part, is attractively done like a commercial Hindi movie.

A mixture of dialogues in different languages, variety of songs, background music, etc, makes the film spicy. However, the movie sounds extremely ‘noisy’ at times.

The script based on alleged scams unleashed by Goan politicians in the state makes the film a must watch for‘locals’.

If truth be told, the movie seems to have drawn audience (out of interest) purely on the basis of itsfirst episode which was far superior to this concluding part.

Aryan Khedekar who has played such nice 'photogenic' roles in both the movieslooks great enough for a place in Hindi film industry.

Prince Jacob plays CM in role that is remarkably portrayed.
RajdeepNaik and John D’Silva have played their part to perfection, however, they do not seem naïve or demure enough like in the first part which made them popular with the audience.

ENEMY?

Enemy should stand in the annals of Goan films as another one of the best films made till date.

The subject is unique and sure to catch the eye of national media and international audience.

No wonder the film won the Best Konkani film Award at the National level and was awarded Best Foreign Language Film at the Milan Film Festival in Italy.

The movie is a must-watch for Goansas it is alleged that Indian Home Ministry has identified over 250 enemy properties worth more thanRs 100 crore in the state that belong to Goans who have acquired Pakistani nationality.

Enemy properties are those whose survey numbers are registered in the names of Goans who migrated to Pakistan decades ago.

Dialogues of the movie, apparently written by SahityaAkademi Award winner Shri DamodarMauzo, have one of the best dialogues among films screened at the Kuwait festival.

The dialogues are enacted to naturalistic excellence and interest by Meenakshi Martins playing the role of a ‘mother’.

Meenakshi could be nominated for the best actress role if there was one.

SalilNaik rightly justifies his role as the army captain and young son, while Samiksha Desai presents attractionto the film by her beauty.

Audience watching ENEMY are bound to stay glued to the screen and enjoy the movie thoroughly.It is the script, dialogues and on screen treatment that makes the movie so over the top.

Given the subject is so beneficial to other Indian states, one wonders why the movie has not been dubbed in other languages?

NOSHIBACHO KHELL

The Mangalorean film is revolving around the story line of rural life, love and mystery.

The film has done numerous shows and drew a huge audience at the festival as well.

Lead star Elton Mascarenhas has done a great role. He is super. While Ester Noronha is the real ‘star’ of the film. Her presence and stardom brings glamor to the film.

Ranjitha Lewis, in the second lead role, looks confident in her act, so is the actress who plays Ranjitha’s mother.

Prince Jacob, comedy sensation from Goa, has impressed in the film with his simple comedy and dialect.

Clenwin D’Souza, the actor who starred in the negative role, is the catch of the film. He is amazing for his age.

The film is produced by Henry D’SilvaSuratkal, who was present at the festival along with lead heroine Ester, and spoke on the occasion.

A lot of publicity and glowing tributes can be read on the net about ‘NoshibachoKhell’ being the best movie ever made in Konkani.

However, the hype created seems little too much to digest.

Flow of the movie is dazzling no doubt whileall characters have performed with passion, the dialogues and story keep the audience captivated, and the masala appealof songs, dance and action makethe movie entertaining.

But the script runs into far too many impractical coincidences (in an oceanic place like Mumbai) for logical belief of a modern age viewer.

The titles and sub-titles look average for a mega film like ‘NoshibachoKhell’ while the dialogues of the film unevenly sync to the lips of characters.

NACHOM-IA KUMPASAR

There is no denying that Nachom-iaKumpasar’ has created a strong niche and buzz among films in the Konkan world.

Mr. Glen Barretto, producer of the film, who was present at the festival revealed in his speech that this was the 25th Film festival Nachom-iaKumpasar has represented.

Since its launch, the masterpiece film has earned large amount of praise across India and abroad winning many awards.

Palomi Ghosh in the lead role and comedian John D’Silva shine in the film.

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