Fri, 19 Jul, 2019

In pursuit of art!

While pursuing his career as a civil engineer, Nilesh Newalkar also held on to his passion for the performing arts. Here’s a look at the journey of the producer who wishes to revive tiatr in its true format combined with technology

02nd December 2018, 03:33 Hrs

Michael Gracias

As a youngster painting fascinated him. Acting on stage during school performances was natural and the process of film-making was always a passion from a young age. He excelled in academics and completed elementary studies at Rosary HS, Navelim, with flying colours. A good career in life led him to apply for admission in the Goa College of Art in Panaji and Fr Agnel Polytechnic in Verna. Luck favoured him and his academic achievement in the examinations saw him get admission in both. But he pursued civil engineering, leaving behind his craving for art . 

But art and culture did not leave him. As a civil engineer he got an opportunity to work in a construction firm belonging to Rajendra Talak, another exponent of art and culture. With hands on knowledge in the field he went to the Gulf as was the custom of the times to make a living. After a brief stint in the Gulf, he suffered bouts of home sickness as the artistic ‘Gõykar’ in him became restless and he finally packed his bags and returned to his motherland and started his own construction company in Goa.

In a short span, he did wonders in his field and soon there came a call to re-ignite the flame that lay cold in him. A flame of igniting the sagging Konkani film culture in his own being and the Konkani world in general. It was a call from Damu Naik the ex MLA of Fatorda. Damu was working on producing a Konkani movie Zagor. The call was to co-produce the movie. The artiste in him awoke and Zagor saw the light of the day as it was screened for the Konkani movie lovers. Zagor brought to the fore a Producer who is today known as Nilesh Newalkar!  

Working on the sets of Zagor was a dream come true and with the growing friends circle from the team, the artiste and art promoter in him was awoken. M S Davon Revankar then approached him with a movie, it was ‘Gunaji’ based on the literary work of Pundalik Naik. Nilesh saw an opportunity to explore the rustic beauty of the Goan villages and he decided on making the film which started in 2012 and was released in 2013 under the banner of Axis Vision. As Gunaji was being shot the camaraderie with the technical staff and cast grew and this bonhomie flourished and blossomed.  

Nilesh was an ardent fan of the old Konkani classics like Nirmonn and Amchem Noxib. Once he mentioned to his friend and art director of Gunaji, Armando Fernandes of his desire to produce a remake of this film and Armando Fernandes promptly replied ‘Korya mure’! (Lets do) After the release of Gunaji, They set the ball rolling for the remake of the film jointly under the banner of Isha and Noah Production. 

Sripad Pai, a Goan working in Bollywood was romped in to head the team as a director and within a year Nirmonn was screened in the auditoriums. The film was released and well received by the Goan cine lovers. Besides India, Nirmonn was also screened in Kuwait, Muscat, United Kingdom and Canada.

Nirmonn was an experience to cherish. Nilesh Newalkar was touched by the response received from the audience. Once at a screening of Nirmonn he mentioned to his Director friend Sripad Pai about this wish of making people laugh. Sripad Pai too took this wish seriously and within three weeks he walked into the office of Nilesh Newalkar with a new script that had a tag line… Entertainment… Entertainment…Entertainment! And setting the ball in motion there commenced another journey of fun and frolic that culminated with the release of O La La, under the banner of Axis Vision. 

Besides Goa, O La La was also screened in the United States of America, Australia, Canada and United Kingdom. The movie is now to be screened in France, Nairobi, New Zealand Cayman Islands and Germany too. Nilesh is now preparing to release his two short films: Scream Based on child abuse and The Spirit of Lamp based on the girl child.

The Government scheme for the production of films is a step in the right direction and is a good incentive for filmmakers. However the shabby treatment meted out to Goan filmmakers is a matter of concern for Konkani cinema, he opines. Screening of Konkani cinema with pride at the IFFI, would provide the deserved exposure at the international level.

Nilesh Newalkar is also fascinated by the Konkani Tiatr which he thinks is all inclusive; Tiatr is probably the only stage art that has embraced artistes from all religions and beliefs and is a glowing factor of unity. In the next year he intends to produce quality tiatrs in the true format and bringing in technology and modern stagecraft to assist.

(Michael Gracias is a cine-journalist, TV anchor and host, a stage and screen actor with a rich repertoire of work for over two decades)

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