The Konkani film picked up an award at the Toronto International Film Festival this year and is the only Indian film to have entered the international competition of directors’ first films at the Mumbai Film Festival.
Filmmaker Laxmikant Shetgaonkar is excited, “Every Indian filmmaker wants to be appreciated. The international recognition means a lot.”
He feels that films, as a medium, should be a means of communication. “For me my audience is out there in tiny villages and small towns too.” But regional cinema never has commercial release. Shetgaonkar says, “Right now, I’m looking at a smaller market because I’ve just started. But I know these festivals act as a platform. If a producer likes your film he’ll surely want to pick it up.”
He does believe that India is a Bollywood-loving country. “But filmmakers like us are trying to find an audience. And I have seen a lot of young people also turning to regional cinema. The audience should be exposed to these films only then will they have a choice.”
His film, which is a socio-cultural drama of a small village in Goa, rings true in its essence. “The point of making such a film is also reach out to an audience you have never reached out to before,” he points out.
The film’s protagonist, Chitranjan Giri, based in Mumbai, learnt the dialogues in a week. “When you like the script once, you put in all efforts to be perfect,” he says. Giri thinks that regional cinema is progressing at a fast pace and also has its own niche audience. “I have done Hindi films as well. But I truly believe regional cinema is bringing forth a lot of talent,” he mentions.
As of now, Shetgaonkar hopes that his film tours many more festivals and gains the recognition that an otherwise unheeded industry lacks.