To enable the local film industry to grow exponentially, the Goan audience needs to create a foundation for support in the state itself, said award-winning Goan writer and film-maker Ronak Kamat. He was speaking at the recently held MOG Sundays talk titled ‘Indie Cinema & Mainstream Cinema – Ronak Kamat’s Journey’, at the Museum of Goa, Pilerne.

“Making a film in Goa is very easy; however, the processes that follow after are difficult. I do not feel like we have a proper paying audience for Goan films in the state. We need to get to a point where Goan films can work theatrically, and not just host voluntary, free screenings, as this is not a long-term strategy financially,” he stated.

Kamat has written and directed several short films and documentaries that have been screened and accrued awards in film festivals out of the state, such as ‘Caazu’ (2015) which won the best documentary film award at the Rajasthan International Film Festival in 2016 and was selected at the Grenoble Film Festival in France. The other films under his writing and directorial belt include ‘Scars’ (2017), ‘Bare’ (2020), and an upcoming documentary on iconic Goan artist Vamona Navelcar titled ‘I am Nothing’.

Kamat has also experienced a successful venture into the over-the-top (OTT) media services in India in the capacity of a writer, co-writing the script for the thriller series ‘P.I. Meena’ (2023), released on Amazon Prime Video.

According to Kamat, the audience base needs to “start at home, as booming film industries in other states have a massive homegrown audience that provides both motivation and monetary support to their local film-makers.”

These viewers comprise the primary audience, while other states comprise secondary audiences — the opposite holds true for the Goan film industry, as Kamat’s award-winning short documentary ‘Caazu’ (2015) on Goa’s cashew liquor practices only found fame at home after being lauded in foreign film circuits.

Kamat stated that the format of ‘template film-making’, wherein new entrants in the directorial role attempt to recreate films that achieved widespread popularity, is killing creativity and plateauing the growth of India’s independent or indie film genre.

“In my opinion, we are going through a poor phase in the Indian indie film industry, as most indie film-makers utilise the same style – a camera is left on, a character walks slowly – and nothing new is said. While this worked a few years ago, the indie film industry in the state is now oversaturated with similar outputs,” he said.

Kamat stated that a fundamental shift in the Indian film industry as a whole needs to occur, which begins with moving away from the obsession with ‘stars’ in the industry and giving new faces opportunities to showcase their talent.

“This move will enable actors from Goa to achieve wider success, as film audiences will be more receptive to the craft of the film’s storyline, cinematography and acting process, rather than appreciating a film only for its ‘star’ value,” Kamat posited.

He also stated that Goan youth who want to step foot into the film industry need to remain true to their roots and tell an authentic story, rather than repeating film recipes that will not find as much success due to them being overdone.

“Creating films in Goa is to authentically portray Goan stories and remain as grounded as possible. We need to remain deeply connected to our heritage, to ensure that our films instantly click with our audience,” Kamat concluded.


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