GOA SERIOUS TO HOST FILM FESTIVAL
By Shahin Azmi Bora
In The News
The International Film Festival of India will be held this time in Goa in November. The shift of venue from New Delhi to Goa has evoked a controversy. It is being said that though it's not the world's greatest cinematic event, yet it does help the domestic film industry in getting an exposure to the world. There is no dearth of people who agree on its dire need for resuscitation, yet they feel that Goa is hardly the way to go. However, the lobby for the Goa venue is stronger as witnessed in Cannes from where it has been announced that the next Cannes festival will be held in Goa.
According to the authorities, a media center with high tech communications, roads and other infrastructure will be built up soon. The Central government would provide Rs 500 million to the state government of Goa for this project. The state government has envisaged a plan to construct seven multiplexes with a seating capacity of about three hundred each. The Goa government has decided to invite international filmmakers and artists to take up the protection of movies in India jointly. This would provide a fillip to the otherwise sagging film industry in India.
On the other hand, the Goa government is being accused of wasting its funds to host the International Film Festival in the state. According to these critics, the state is unable to provide infrastructure of international standard to host the film festival in November this year. It would take at least three years to complete preparations for it, they argue. However, the Goa government has denied these allegations and asserted that the festival is "definitely going to happen in Goa". It also adds that the Goa festival would meet Delhi standards and those too within the stipulated time of November 2004.
Moreover, the government pleads that the funds would be provided by the Central government as already promised by the latter. Besides, the infrastructure developed for the film festival would be a permanent asset for the people of Goa. Some of the Goa's ministers who have been to Cannes to study the requirements of the film festival are confident of making the Goa festival a success and thus create a history. Goa's minister for transport, revenue and river navigation, Pandurang A. Madkaikar, says that his government is "serious about the festival and has already started constructing multiplexe.
He has expressed surprise over the criticism of holding this International Film Festival in Goa. He counters it by saying that there is a lot of enthusiasm among the public for the film festival. The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), which is organizing this festival in Goa on behalf of the entertainment industry, is also in favor of shifting the venue of the film festival from Delhi to Goa, as it would be a grand success inasmuch as many foreigners, including filmmakers and artists, would be participating in the festival.
The organizers of the film festival say that unlike Cannes, IFFI cannot perhaps guarantee the world a steady stream of topless starlets and a continuous line-up of sexy Hollywood divas, but it can ensure that they can at least satisfy the expectations of the public for its glamour-hunger. In fact, they argue that Goa should be made a permanent venue of these festivals. Some of the Central authorities have already met with their counterparts in Cannes to discuss the needs of the festival. The CII is actively pursuing the matter with the state government and entertainment industry in Mumbai and the south, to make the Goa film festival a grand success.
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