Countdown for IFFI begins but auditoriums yet to be finalised

Panaji: The countdown for the 50th edition of the
International Film Festival of India (IFFI) to be inaugurated in the city on
November 20 may have very well begun; however, it is still uncertain as to
whether the Kala Academy Complex, one of the main venues for this annual film
event, would screen films for the delegates this time or not.

According to Minister for Art and Culture, Govind Gaude,
who is also the chairman of the Kala Academy-Goa, it is humanly impossible for
any contractor to complete the work as regards structural strengthening of Kala
Academy Complex, followed by its renovation, within a period of one month. “And
we don’t want the public money to be wasted by undertaking this work
haphazardly, within the limited time available,” he added.

“We, therefore, propose to take up painting work and some
beautification of the Dinanath Mangueshkar Kala Mandir, which serves as a
cinema hall during the film festival,” the Minister for Art and Culture
mentioned, pointing out that the main objective of the government would be to
make this auditorium presentable to the delegates and dignitaries at the film

“We are awaiting direction from the Chief Minister and
would soon take up the patch-up work of the KA auditorium,” he informed, adding
that as the cost of this work would be around Rs 5 lakh to Rs 6 lakh, a
short-term tender would be floated for the same, and the said task completed
well before the inauguration of the film festival.

Meanwhile, vice chairman of the Entertainment Society of
Goa (ESG), Subhash Phaldesai, after attending the IFFI 2019 review meeting
chaired by Chief Minister Pramod Sawant in the city, said that the ESG has
already discussed the issue of hiring local theatres for IFFI, which are within
a distance of 10 km from the official IFFI venues.

“These theatres, however, need to have some standard; we
just cannot hand over any theatre to the directorate of film festivals (DFF),”
he added, pointing out that the number of theatres required would depend on the
number of films to be screened at the film festival.

The Chief Minister, during the meeting directed
mobilisation of all concerned government departments to assist the film event
in becoming a success. Phaldesai said that all the preparations for the IFFI
2019 including festival erections and decor would be complete by November 15.
“We will then have at least four days for fine tuning these preparations, if
need be,” he added.

Incidentally, the Kala Academy complex is facing
structural problems, and it is still not clear as to whether the patch-up work
of the particular auditorium would also guarantee safety of the audiences in
this cinema hall.

The KA sources have maintained that the roof of the
Dinanath Mangueshkar Kala Mandir, which has been plastered many a times, is
already overweighing and needs to have permanent repair.

Meanwhile, the final visit of the technical committee of
the DFF, which inspects the venues for the IFFI, is yet to happen. The report
of this committee would play an important role in the continuation of Kala
Academy as a festival venue.

The ESG, which is a partner of the DFF in organising
IFFI, is still awaiting government’s decision as regards Kala Academy Complex.

The ESG sources maintained that total capacity of the two
Maquinez Palace auditoriums is 305, that of the four-theatre Inox Multiplex is
1,271, and the capacity of the Dinanath Mangueshkar Kala Mandir at Kala Academy
is 975. These three venues collectively provide 2,551 theatre seats for the
film festival.

As per the ESG statement, this year being the golden
jubilee year of the film festival, it expects around 10,000 registrations from
the delegates, 2,000 more than the registrations recorded annually. This
indicates that even if 50 per cent of the delegates – around 5,000 – who have
registered for IFFI 2019 turn up at the venue and then half of them – 2,500 –
decide to watch film shows, then all the three regular venues of IFFI should be
available and screening films.

When asked if there is any Plan B with it, in case the
technical committee rejects Kala Academy on safety grounds, the ESG sources
informed in negative. “There are plans to hire local theatres for screening of
films at the IFFI,” the sources maintained.

Ironically, the local theatres – Samraat and Ashok – need
some facelift, and would definitely not be a matter of pride for any
international film festival, if they are not repaired and renovated as per the
specifications of the international film festivals.

With just over-a-month left for the curtains to rise on
the IFFI 2019, it would be interesting to see how the DFF as well as the ESG
handle the tricky ‘venue situation’ for the mega film fiesta.

Source:: The Navhind Times

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