It's absolutely Dullsville as far as the presence of delegates is concerned at the 10-day International Film Festival of India currently on its fourth day in Goa.
No recognisable face has shown up at the INOX complex, the venue for the fest. Paresh Rawal took a break from his day’s shooting in the city and was looking around for a delegate card when he was besieged by the print and the electronic media.
The selection of films, by contrast, has been excellent, particularly from the east European countries.
Hollywood continued to boycott the festival for the last five years, as the major studio companies have insisted, as IFFI does not give them any commercial benefits.
Also, since film censorship rules continue to be stringent, Hollywood honchos feel no need to get into the film festival spirit here.
The attendance at the screenings has picked up. But not many locals are seen at the venue, which is mainly packed with delegates, students and journalists. Incidentally, the media has never has it so good. A popular brewery has started an open bar serving beer, rum, the works for journos in need of a drink in between movies. Not surprisingly, the booze stock runs out by early evening.
Last year’s free breakfasts in a launch on the Mandovi, however, are being sorely missed. There is an inordinately high number of food stalls at the complex — ranging from Bade Miya’s kababs to idli-dosa counters. Oddly, Goan cuisine is not represented.
Meanwhile, Pakistan’s Khuda ke Liye — which bravely criticises fundamentalism and religious bigotry — has been appreciated by the audience. The other two top favourites, so far, have been Romania's Four Months Three Weeks and Two Days that discusses the issue of abortion sensitively and Poland’s Tricks, an imaginative child's search for his estranged father.