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Wanted K Sera Sera to be well-planned, rehearsed: Makers of Konkani film at IFFI 2016

Rajeev Shinde and Rajesh Pednekar, the director and producer of IFFI's only Konkani film entry, K Sera Sera — Ghodpachem Ghoddtelem, sat down with Cinestaan.com talking about the rise of Goan films and a new industry of cinema in India. 

The cast and crew of K Sera Sera at IFFI 2016, Goa (Photo: Shutterbugs Images)

Shriram Iyengar

Goa is the land for susegad (easy) living. However, in the last decade, this little state has seen increased cinematic activity and a rise in the number of films emerging from a still fledgeling industry. One of the main events of IFFI 2016 was the premiere of K Sera Sera — Ghodpachem Ghoddtelem , the only Konkani film in the Indian Panorama section. Incidentally, Cinestaan.com tried to get tickets to the film, but did not manage to gain entry as the bookings were houseful three hours after the shows opened. So, we did the next best thing. Cinestaan.com sat down with Rajeev Shinde, the director, and Rajesh Pednekar, producer and actor, of K Sera Sera — Ghodpachem Ghoddtelem at IFFI 2016 to talk about the rise of Goan cinema. 

So, K Sera Sera is a fascinating story about different perceptions of life. Tell us a bit about it...
Rajeev Shinde: 
I have always been a storyteller. The first job of an artist is to conceive and come up with ideas. I always keep looking for ideas. Out of those, how many I will put across I am not sure. This idea (for K Sera Sera) came to me when I was in traffic, on a railway station, watching hundreds of people moving around you, walking around you. I thought it was fascinating that every person was living his/her own story, and we didn't even know what is happening in their lives. Maybe somebody sitting next to me is going through a tragedy in life, or a very happy moment. I thought it would be wonderful if I could tap into these stories, and put it on paper. Of course, the canvas was limited, but even if I could get two stories it could get interesting. 

Rajesh Pednekar: As a producer, I never thought I would produce this film. It was the reverse. Rajeev had told me a story, which stayed with me. I told him we should do a film on it, but he didn't know who could produce it. I convinced him to start. Things were starting to get finalised, one day he asked me "Who is really producing it?" Then I told him I would do it. I didn't want to put him under pressure. Of course, we have a good chemistry since we have been working together in theatre for so long. One thing was sure, if we were making something we would make something good which would satisfy the audience. As an actor, he pointed out the character to me. I said, 'Fine, I am doing a different character' and developed a different look. Rajeev told me I would have to study myself, ask questions to myself. I started working on the character about one-and-half months before we started shooting. The physique, posture and the process gives you a lot of satisfaction. When the movie is ready, it's done, it is great. I understand it is a good thing. But it is the process, adding more details, studying the character which gives you satisfaction. It is the same as a producer. I wanted the movie to be well-planned, well-rehearsed, as I saw it in my mind. So it was. I think we are happy about it. 

Your film is also the only Konkani film nominated to the Indian panorama section? Is that a positive sign, or a negative sign for the Konkani film industry? 
Shinde: Actually, I would have appreciated if more Konkani films were there. That would have encouraged more and more filmmakers. Nevertheless, I feel happy and proud. I also feel that this will make other people work more, and more films will come. I will not call Goan films an industry yet, but after the first IFFI in 2004, there has been a lot of development in Goa about films. It is not that there was no interest before. I made a film in 1994, but the format was not film format (Dekhin Gorai). After 2004, a lot of people started looking at films as an option. They could see cinema, they experienced the environment. since then, literally every year, 8-10 films in Konkani are being made. That is a good sign. Many of our films earlier were very limited in approach because of the environment here. But in the last few years, Nachom ia Kumpasar and Laxmikant Shetkar's film which went to Cannes. Nachom ia Kumpasar has set standards. It was not only good technically, but it also was good content wise, theme wise. It not only did well at festivals, but was also a commercial success. 

Pednekar: I know now that there are so many technicians, actors, writers making a living in Goan cinema. When people start making a living out of it, that is the sign that it has become an industry. The government is also supportive now, I hope they keep at it. The Entertainment Society of Goa is also taking a good part in it. I think we have immense talent in terms of actors, technicians. The only need for it is to be tapped. 

How far has the Goan film industry come? And where do you see it headed in a couple of years? 
I think that there is going to be definite development. People have started thinking differently. It's not that people were not making films, but they were typical kind of films. If you look at Marathi cinema about 20 years back, it was not in a good state. All those similar kind of comedies, people got fed up after some years. But one film like Shwaas changed everything. Today, you see Marathi cinema is going through a golden period. You can see every year, seven-eight films with good subjects are made. Someone said to me the other day, 'Content is king', which is a fact. If you give people good content, something powerful, they will come and watch. Though Goa is a smaller market, I am optimistic about it. 

Pednekar: Cinema was not that big earlier (here). Now, of course you will see more advertising in films. Enemy, Home Sweet Home, Nirmon are movies that are coming out. People are coming out to movies. Earlier, there were few movies. but also because of IFFI the atmosphere has changed, a stage has been set. It gives an inspiration, maybe, for filmmakers. We still think of competing in the Indian panorama section. It helps to make you better. 

How influential is the theatre culture to Goan cinema? 
I did a lot of Marathi theatre. Marathi theatre today is also about content. You have to have a good theme and brilliant scenes, otherwise it won't work at all. This I learnt from theatre. Your basics need to be right. We actually crafted everything in the film. Of course, there is a risk factor something might go wrong. 

What are your expectations from the film and IFFI? 
Well, I hope people watch this film and like it. After this, I have another project lined up. I recently did a play called 'Thodasa Magic Thodasa Logic' in Marathi, with Mohan Joshi in the cast. That drama was very successful and remade in Gujarati. They did almost 200 shows. So, the producer was inspired to make a film out of it. My next production will be a Gujarati film Thodu Logic Thodu Magic. I might do a Konkani film later in Marathi. That subtleness of dialogue is in Marathi. 

Pednekar: We have got tremendous response for the film. Bookings opened at 8 am and it was booked out at 8.20 am. Still, the culture is only the beginning. Nachom ia Kumpasar was very good. In terms of camera work and performance, K Sera Sera is also very good. That is why out of 60 films, we were selected. There was film by Adoor Gopalakrishnan that was not selected. We felt bad because he is a great filmmakers. But we were very happy, and we hope all of them watch this film. I am sure they will like it.

Full IFFI 2016 coverage