China and Konkani

For cinema aficionados, say the words ‘Raise the Red Lantern’ and they swoon into delirium. When I saw this 1991 film, I was enticed to go to China and visit the sites they shot the film in. Chinese films are heavy into costumes. Check out the period epics like The Victorious Queen or Han or The Legend of Miyue. The costumes are glamorous and stupendous. Beating them both is the fabulous Empress of China. Chinese costume at it’s best. Staying in the historic period film category is the magnificent House of Flying Daggers. On a more somber and real note, check out the restrained green, brown, beige and ivory palette of The Silent War. It shows that Chinese cinema can straddle all worlds from reality to fantasy, war epics to romance with panache and ease.

There are Konkani musicals and them there is a film that rocked the box office so much that people went to see the movie multiple times over. No film has made a bigger impact on the Konkani speaking public in Goa and beyond it’s borders than Nachom-ia Kumpasar. In the hands of the talented Bradroy Barretto, the musical drama based on the legendary Chris Perry-Lorna romance captured not just the music but the fashion of the times. From polyester men’s satin shirts to slinky gowns in music halls, Nachom-ia Kumpasar will stay a classic of our times.

Artwork by Fabian Gonsalves.