'Starry' nights on Goan beaches

By Frederick Noronha, IANS
12/4/2004 12:00:00 AM
Walking along dazzlingly lit Goan promenades at night has suddenly acquired a new meaning. The beaches are buzzing with films, concerts and stars - not just of the sky variety!

Films are being screened on the famed beaches of the state during the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) currently on in the state.

Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar is trying every trick in the book to counter the view that local citizens are being left out of an event put up with the taxpayers' money.

Kunal Kohli's romantic comedy "Hum Tum" was shown at the Miramar beach.

Officials here say: "Beach screening was conceptualised by the (newly set-up) Entertainment Society of Goa and would be the first of its kind in the country.

"During the festival, some of the leading blockbusters would be screened on a massive 70x30 feet screen that has been installed at Miramar."

Miramar is on the outskirts of state capital Panaji and is the favourite beach of urban crowds from the nearby small city, which has a population of just under 60,000.

Up on the schedule also are concerts by musicians and singers, beach screenings in north Goa and also at Baina, a former squalid red light quarter where poor migrants were involved in sex work - which the government demolished in mid-June and is being turned into a middle-class entertainment centre.

Radio jockeys on programmes sponsored by the state government urge audiences to head for the decked up state capital Panaji.

Indi-pop singers like Shaan are being specially flown in for concerts.

Said an official statement: "The support of the people of Goa to the event has been extraordinary. Come evening and crowds throng the festival road in Panaji to participate in the various cultural and art events being held along the banks of the Mandovi river."