Konkani Cinema has one man to thank, Antonio Lawrence Jerry Braganza who dared and created history by making the first full length Konkani movie, that too during the Portuguese Colonial rule. No wonder this Mapusa native is also referred to as the ‘Father of Konkani Cinema’. Also, Great feats are achieved by dreamers who challenged the status quo and change everything forever.
‘Mogacho Aunddo’ (Love’s Craving) the first product of Konkani film industry, was shot in Goa during the Portuguese rule and released on 24 April 1950, it is also the only film made in Portuguese India. Some of the locations included in the film were Fort Aguada, Old Goa, Mapusa, Calangute, Altinho and Campal in Panjim and River Mandovi.
The Film was based on Dioguinho De Melo’s novel, ‘Mogachi Odd’. Produced and directed by Al Jerry Braganza under the banner ETICA pictures (Exchange Talkies of India, China and Africa). Apart from Goa the movie was released in Bombay (Now Mumbai) in places like Rivoli (Matunga), Liberty (Fort) and Star (Mazgaon).
Leena Fernandes played the lead role of Maria is today known as first Konkani actress with AL Jerry in the role of Abela. Irene Amaral, Elizabeth D’Abreo, Mary D’Souza, Jacob Fernandes, Joyce Fernandes, Romeo Paul Pires, Lewis Ratus played the supporting roles.
The love story revolves around a rich spoiled boy and a poor girl. Music for the film was composed by Alfred Almeida, and featured songs such as ‘Mogacho Aunddo’ and ‘Mogall Bai’ sung by Jerry and Leena.
The film paved way for the Konkani Cinema, which hasn’t been an easy journey. The Next film ‘Amchem Noxib’ was made in 1963, 13 years after the first one. The Konkani film industry is yet to cross the 100 film mark. Although the industry has produced great films like Nachom ia Kumpasar, O Maria, Paltadacho Munis etc in recent times, they still struggle to get the deserved response.
The quality of production has seen a dramatic change as these films have big budgets (Nachom ia Kumpasar had a budget of almost 4 crores). So much so that it can easily compete with Bollywood in terms of quality. Lack of response from the public may actually hamper the growth of the Konkani film Industry.
Written by Shailesh Shriram Tanpure