Wagro, a short film made by young Goan Sainath S Uskaikar, will be screened at the 53rd International Film Festival of India. It is the lone Konkani entry in the Indian Panorama section. Gomantak Times digital spoke to the filmmaker to know his creative side
Congratulations! Wagro will be screened at this year's 53rd IFFI. What's the feeling?
The feeling is one of happiness for me and the whole team because Wagro is the only Konkani entry from Goa in the Indian panorama section. I remember coming to IFFI in 2004 as a seven-year-old kid and while going back home to Porvorim we had no bus service as it was late in the night. As a seven-year-old, it was very frightening for me to see my mother trying to get some transport to get back home. Finally, we managed to hire a rickshaw and reach home.
Why did you make Wagro?
The film was made as part of the 60-hour film-making contest organised by the Department of Information and Publicity and Ravindra Bhavan, Margao. It was conceptualised, written, shot, edited and sound-designed in 60 hrs for which we won prizes in seven categories out of eight, including best film.
How did you choose your star cast?
The Wagro star cast are friends, who are professionally trained in theatre. There were a total four of them and the fifth one was me because I realised there was no one to act.
What roadblocks you faced while making this film?
It was a race against time to make this 10-minute short film as we had only 60 hours at our disposal. Nothing went as per plan. On the first day, we were to shoot three scenes and on the last day, just one. Everything went topsy-turvy and we ended up doing just one scene on the first day and three the next day.
Do you feel the film has been well-received by the Goan audience?
People have shown immense love for the film. They have praised it on social media, sent messages and even called us for which we are grateful. The film has been shown in several countries, but, in Goa, it was screened for the first time at the Goa Marathi Film Festival in August 2022.
Tell us something about your Cannes experience in May 2022.
Wagro was part of the Short Film Corner category in Cannes, France. It was a great experience because as a young filmmaker, I was given a platform to network with other producers. This experience helped me gain knowledge and realise the power of a short film.
Do you think having IFFI in Goa has helped the cause of Konkani filmmaking or films?
Getting IFFI here was a good thing to do as it is the biggest film festival in India. The function of a film festival is to allow people to see some great cinema and get inspired. In Goa, we have seen some great Konkani cinema through Laxmikant Shetgaonkar (Paltadacho Munis fame) Bardroy Barretto (Nachom-ia Kumpasar), Rajesh Pednekar (Kaajro and K Sera Sera) and Sangramsingh Gaikwad (Zagor).
What future do you see for the Konkani film industry?
We have a limited audience in Goa as we are a tiny State with a small population. However, now with the advent of internet platforms like Netflix, for example, the reach of a film can be wide. This also affirms my point that language cannot be a barrier for the audience to watch a film. There are subtitles which help one understand a film. However, language makes a film organic, rooted and your own.
Please tell us about your upcoming projects, if any.
Currently, I am a student at the Film and Television Institute of India, Pune. Recently, I made a 5-minute short film called Posko. Right now plans are on to make a documentary, a fiction film (15 mins) and a non-fiction project.