Mumbai Memoir 43- ‘Goa Getaways-Films, travel & more’
It’s hard to take a break from all the exciting activities I pursue in Mumbai, but over the years, the month of November has shaped up to be a time to hang up my boots and get away from the hustle bustle of my city. My ‘November annual retreat’ for the past five consecutive years has been Goa. The central most reason for visiting Goa is to attend the ‘International Film Festival of India (iffi) which is India’s top most film festival. Best of world cinema from across the globe are screened at the festival in a span of 2 weeks. . This year, 290 films from 90 countries were screened from 20th-30th November 2015. A record 7000 delegates from 38 countries attended the festival in a span of 10 days!
I managed to attend the festival for the last 3 days. Among the films I could catch up over the fest’s concluding weekend, the following films laid a strong impact on my psyche: ‘El Destierro’ (The Exile), it’s a Spanish film set in the civil war days of Spain’s history. Its a unique & beautiful love story set in the backdrop of war. Here’s its trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eOOEkBY86hs, ‘The Danish Girl’ was yet another film that touched my heart. It’s a period film based on a real life story, where a wife supports her husband to become a woman and helps him resolve his gender identity crisis. Here’s the film’s trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d88APYIGkjk
‘Dheepan’, a Tamil movie made by a French director is intense and showcases the LTTE activism in Sri Lanka on one hand and the conflicts between French criminal gangs on other. It’s a beautifully crafted movie showing the parallels of distinct human conflicts and how they intersect at a given point in the film. Here’s its trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sOIhf39JP3o
I would like to make a special mention about a Kannada movie, ‘Naanu Avanalla Avalu’ which I watched at the festival. It has already won the National Award here in India. The film is an inspirational story of a man who goes against his conservative society to resolve his gender identity crisis. The film is based on a true story of an individual named ‘Living Smile- Vidya’ and depicts the struggles, conflicts and crisis which the transgender community has to undergo in India, just to be one with themselves. Here’s the film’s trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jvshKNFmzRg.
The closing film of the festival ‘El Clan’ (The Clan) speaks about the political situation in Argentina during the 1980’s and how affluent families too resorted to kidnapping and extortion to fight the then existing inflation. This Spanish film is also based on a true life story. Here’s its trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5gnQab2Qq14
Last but not the least, the film that impressed me the most is ‘Taxi’. With very less resources, through his film, Iranian director Jaffer Panahi has showcased Iran’s culture and life in Tehran. The treatment of the film is brilliant and gracefully slaps on the face of the Iranian film board, which has been imposing irrational restrictions on the freedom of creative expression of artists in Iran. Here’s its trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eM2tblIkL4g
When a cinema lover like me watches films from various nations in different languages, I feel like travelling the world and getting back to my seat! After the film festival ended, I could not resist the temptation of exploring the country side of Goa. The beaches, the forts and places of religious importance that surrounds the Goan land, offers a travel treat for a passionate traveller like me.
On the last day of my stay in Goa, I planned to visit Fort Aguada and Calangute beach located in North Goa and Mangeshi temple & Church of ‘Lady of Immaculate Conception in South Goa. Driving a hired car myself, I first headed to the fort then the beach and then the religious shrines before I boarded a bus back to Mumbai. As I sat in the Mangeshi temple and later the church, offering my gratitude to the ‘unknown pied piper of the Universe’, I seek blessing for my new professional venture that I recently started back in Mumbai. I believe, irrespective of the religious shrine one bows down to, what’s more important is conveying to one’s own conscience about ‘good intention’ and the belief that one can improve the quality of people’s life (and self) with one’s Karma.
Like all good things come to an end, my Goa getaway did too. But, just like at a perfume store, coffee beans are given to sniff before we experience the whiff of the next perfume, Goa acts as a strong positive distracter for me, before I continue extracting the best fragrances from my busy life in Mumbai!
Photo credits: Shraddha C. Sankulkar