After receiving rave reviews and accolades for his previous short-film, Wagro, which was even screened at Festival de Cannes, 2022, filmmaker, Sainath Uskaikar, is now ready with his next short-film, Gotho (meaning ‘A Shelter’ in Konkani).
This film has now been selected at the Dharamshala International Film Festival which will be held from Nov 4, 2023 to Nov 7 at Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh.
This 12-minute short documentary film is actually a student documentary project which was made during Sainath’s course at FTII (Film and Television Institute of India), Pune, in January 2023.
WHAT IT’S ALL ABOUT
“It’s a ‘film letter’ to my grandmother Sunila Uskaikar from the film institute,” explains Sainath about this film. The film is about Sainath’s 85-year-old grandmother, who he was afraid of losing, while he was away from her.
For Sainath, it was the first time being away from his family, when he shifted his base to Pune to do a Direction course at FTII.
“While in the hostel, I had this passive feeling about the well-being of my mother and grandmother in Goa. My mother knew about the course and was well aware of what I was getting into, but my grandmother had no idea. Hence, the conversations with my grandmother were different,” says he.
“My grandmother was adverse to the idea of my higher studies, so post-graduation in cinema didn’t go well with her. I feared losing her, hence, I had this idea of documenting her during festivals and family meet-ups,” explains Sainath.
The film is produced by the Film and Television Institute of India, Pune. The team includes Vishesh Gandhi (Cinematography), Chinmay Wagh (Editing) and Madhav Patil (Sound Recording & Design). It was shot across Pune city and the district. It also has some archival footage, including that of his grandmother in their house in Merces.
The movie is heavy on nostalgia and memories. “The film follows a non-linear structure, filled with stories from my grandmother and my lived experiences,” adds Sainath.
When asked whether such personal stories have a universal appeal, Sainath opined that it does have. The most common feedback he received from viewers is that the film reminded them of their grandmothers.
Some have even cried reminiscing about their own grandmothers. However, for Sainath, making this film was a difficult process as it was not easy for him to share his personal life. But, while making this film, he started getting comfortable with it.
“I am very reluctant to share my personal moments on social media. But, Gotho is my liberation from this fear. I consider it to be like a warm hug to myself,” he shares.
Even though this short-film has been shown at other film festivals, it is not part of IFFI Goa 2023.
Sainath stated that it doesn’t qualify for the ‘Goa Section’ as the Film and Television Institute of India is not a Goan producer, even though the film is in Konkani, and the director is a Goan.
The film, Gotho (A Shelter), will be screened on November 7, 2023 at 2.30 pm at Dekyi Tsering Hall, Dharamshala Film Festival (Himachal Pradesh).
Arti Das is a freelance journalist based in Goa. She loves writing about art, culture and the ecology of Goa.