Govt should undertake documentation of Goan culture, says Vikram Gokhale


 The celebrated stage, film and television actor, Vikram Gokhale on Sunday said the state government should immediately undertake documentation of Goan culture, especially the folk art so as to preserve it for posterity, and various NGOs and bodies working in the field of culture as well as private sponsors must support this endeavour.
“Efforts should also be made to financially support those keeping this invaluable art alive,” he added
Gokhale, who was the chief guest for the city Shigmotsav parade organised by the Panaji Shigmotsav Samiti on March 30, said that he was highly impressed by the presentation of folk art during the procession, and was further influenced by the ‘power packed’ performance of the participants.
“I am very much interested in the art of body language used by actors in their performances, and even deliver lectures on the topic at the university level,” the senior actor added, pointing out that the body language displayed by the participants of the Shigmotsav, in spite of neither being students of any acting school or trained professionals, captivated him a great deal.
“I can say that the Shigmotsav evening enriched me as a person and an actor,” he noted.
Stating that he has been coming to Goa since 1967 to perform in plays produced by professional theatrical companies, Gokhale said that till date, he has been receiving affection and love of the audiences from the state. “In fact, Goa and Konkan region  of Maharashtra still patronises the Marathi theatre wholeheartedly, while there has been drop in the number of people from Mumbai and Pune attending plays performed on the professional stage,” he observed, mentioning that Goans are clean-hearted people, and the state beautifully reflects this characteristic.  
Interacting with the media, the seasoned actor better known for cult Marathi plays like Barrister and Mahasagar said the world has moved far from the situation, which existed during the 1970s, and the same like other things has affected the professional as well as the parallel Marathi theatre.
“The decade of 1970s had limited inflation, limited television coverage, and more importantly limited speed to the life of the individuals, besides substantial time at one’s disposal,” Gokhale maintained, mentioning that the threat of terrorism looming large over metropolitan cities has in turn made them wild and dangerous places to live in.
“All these aspects, ranging from high ticket rates to the fear of going out at night with the family have created non conducive atmosphere for Marathi theatre in particular and entertainment industry in general,” he bemoaned.
Gokhale, who has also acted in television serials ranging from Shwetambara in the 1980s to Dwidhata in the 1990s, and recent ones like Ya Sukhano Ya on the satellite television channels, said the safety aspect has made most of the families stay indoors and watch television, rather than go out for entertainment.
“However, one should have self regulation about watching the television programmes, like say, watching such programmes only if they have aesthetical value and so on,” he opined, informing that as high as 95 per cent of the women in Kerala watch limited television, restricted to viewing the news, which is the reflection of 100 per cent literacy of that state.
Gokhale, who has recently won the Best Actor National Award for the Marathi film, Anumati said that he is honoured to receive the same; however, the award should not be interpreted as his greatest achievement. “Interestingly, the book The History and Politics of the Academy Awards gives an insight into how the Oscar Awards are awarded based on reasons pertaining to the global financial conditions,” he revealed, pointing out that in India too, there is a room for doubt in the presentation of film-based awards, with the exception of those announced in Delhi.
Replying to a question as to whether there is dearth of quality playwright on Marathi stage today, Gokhale said that whatever thoughts the playwrights of say, 1970s had expressed in their plays were thoughts pertaining to those times, and therefore, the modern-day writers necessarily have to present thoughts of today in their creations. “However, in a globalised world covered with Internet, so many and so diverse views as well as thoughts have already been circulated around that it is very difficult for playwrights to come out with the novel ones,” he noted.   
Answering another question about controversy as regards the recent poll to elect the chief of the Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Natya Parishad, which witnessed actor, Mohan Joshi being elected with the defeat of the rival candidate, Vinay Apte amidst high drama with fake ballot papers, Gokhale said that disturbed at the proceedings of the election process, he refrained from voting, even though it was wrong on his part to do so. “They even sent someone to collect my duly filled ballot paper, to which I refused,” he informed, lamenting that whatever had happened was certainly improper.
Replying to yet another query on the recent Sanjay Dutt issue, Mr Gokhale said that whatever was done by Sanjay Dutt was certainly wrong in the interest of the country, and therefore, he should face the sentence of the judiciary like a good citizen. “Sanjay is my good friend and is a gem of a person at heart, but unfortunately, he has a weak head to see the things rationally,” he reacted, maintaining that there was absolutely no need for Sanjay to keep the weapons with him, and if at all he desired to handle the weapons, then he should have chosen a career in armed forces.
On a parting note, the talented actor said that Goa is being given a wrong image as a land of alcohol, further quipping that people visiting Goa perhaps consume more alcohol than Goans themselves. [NT]