Goans feel that the state government has failed to bridge the gap between Goans and the Indian Film Festival of India held in Goa.
Prominent Goans recall that during its initial years IFFI was exciting and happening, but over the years Goans have become disconnected from this event. This has led to the event receiving a lukewarm response from the local people.
Fr Bolmax Pereira, the parish priest of the Chicalim church, said that the main objective for which the IFFI was organised has been lost. There are a negligible number of Goans involved in this film festival. In the past, there used to be big screens and decorations in various places across Goa during IFFI.
People were initially enthusiastic about becoming part of it. But the present edition of IFFI has remained a corporate affair, appealing to a few privileged individuals. Common people are losing interest in IFFI. Such grand events should involve local people, Fr Bolmax Pereira added.
Saish Sanzgiri, a teacher from Vasco, said that IFFI should not remain restricted to Panjim and only span eight to nine days. Filmmaking activities such as film shoots, etc should take place in Goa throughout the year. Goa has the potential of becoming a filmmaking destination.
Capt Viriato Fernandes, Congress party leader, also expressed shock that during IFFI, places like the Goa international airport, beaches and public places have been neglected, unlike before.
Fernandes said the Goa government is under the pressure of debt, and this year it is visible. During IFFI, the international airport, Dabolim, was kept undecorated despite IFFI’s 53rd edition taking place in Panjim, said Capt Viriato Fernandes.
He further said that the state government needs to put its priorities in place. There are a lot of problems the state is facing and the government is attempting to gloss over these issues by organising IFFI.
Before, there used to be decorations and screenings of movies in Baina; the airport used to be decorated, etc. But this year IFFI has remained a celebration for a few elite people and film stars.
Savio Coutinho, a member of the Shadow Council, Margao, said, “As years pass by, we realise that IFFI is hardly much of a benefit to the larger section of Goans."
There was a time when there used to be much excitement among Goans as the film festival arrived. However, the festival is now limited to the elite from Goa, and an invitation to the elite from other states to look for land and property, which they can well-afford.
Coutinho further said that we also hardly see Goans who are part of the event management scene and other related activities getting contracts at IFFI, nor do Goan youth benefit by obtaining decent jobs here.
It is time for the government to come out with a white paper on IFFI, with details of the advantages and benefits Goans derived from this event; and, accordingly, make sincere efforts to ensure that in the future the Goan population gains from it.
There is the inclination to feel that even if the government chooses to put up screens in every ward of Goa in a bid to entertain the people, some external agency will be given the contract.