December 3, 2007 / 3:07 AM / 10 years ago

Goa stirs colonial memories in Portuguese filmmaker

PANAJI, India (Reuters) - Almost 50 years ago when the Portuguese colony of Goa was integrated with India, Luis Galvao Teles, then just a small boy, wept bitterly.

His father had fought at the International Court of Justice to defend Portugal’s rights over Goa, a palm-fringed beach oasis he had never visited but tales of which filled his childhood.

This week, Teles came to Goa, ostensibly to present his film “Dot.Com” at the 38th International Film Festival of India, but more importantly for a long-awaited tryst with a place that had such immense significance in his family.

“From childhood, I had this desire of knowing Goa,” the 62-year-old filmmaker told Reuters. “And here I am now, discovering the people of this place and, who knows, perhaps making a film on India.”

Half a century ago, any warmth for India was unimaginable in the Teles household as the country was clearly the enemy.

”I remember people crying at my place,“ Teles reminisced about the loss of the colony. ”We were praying and still hoping for a miracle.

“Things changed when I went to university and realized that the idea of colonies made no sense any more.”

The Portuguese colonized Goa in the early 16th century after Vasco da Gama discovered a sea route to India in 1498.

Their rule ended only in 1961, almost a decade-and-half after India had gained independence from the British.

But the Portuguese legacy still hangs so heavy on Goa -- especially in its culture, architecture and nomenclature -- that Teles feels like he’s walked into a film set with Portugal as the backdrop.

For Teles, the visit appears fulfilling professionally as well, with his film, the story of the effects of the Internet on a village in Portugal, being well received.

Local media said Teles’s film could very well be made into a Bollywood movie, a suggestion he has been quick to latch on to.

“The idea of seeing the story that you created (being) recreated in a different context is something that appeals a lot to me,” he said. “Especially if it is made in a Bollywood way with songs and dances.”

Teles has no plans of directing a Hindi remake but said he wouldn’t mind co-producing it with an Indian filmmaker.

Writing by Krittivas Mukherjee; Editing by Jerry Norton

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