I had a blast in Goa for 20 days, last year.
Too bad I don’t have much leave this time.
But then, a trip to the International Film Festival of India held at Goa is like a pilgrimage for every movie buff.
To keep my faith, I’m taking four days off this year to hit Goa.
I hope the rest of you get to pitch tent throughout the fest.
Since not many from Madras do seem to be aware of the event, here are the FAQs:
1. Why is IFFI such a big deal?
Well, you get at least 10 days of 5 movies a day (to choose from about 25-30 of them) from all over the world (and only the best, latest critically acclaimed films) and get to watch star-studded premieres of at least half a dozen films (most of them Indian though) and in place where you are far away from work or friends. If you manage to get your friends along, well, there is nothing like it.
Considering that I really loved the latter’s ‘Amores Perros’ and ’21 Grams,’ I feel pretty sick that I won’t be there to watch ‘Babel’. Apparently, this one is about three stories from three different countries and going by his signature, is like to have another mind-boggling narrative (Gonsalez won Best Director at Cannes for this one).
Also, it’s at GOA! Possibly India’s best known world-class tourist destination. No matter how much time you have at hand, you still would miss out on something interesting. Goa is such an awesome place to explore.
Tip: Watch three or four movies starting at 9.30 in the morning. Keep the evenings free for sight-seeing. Do one beach/tourist attraction a day.
2. What does it take to go there?
A delegate pass. That costs WONLY 200 BUCKS!!! (INDIAN RUPEES). But make sure you register by November 15 lest they stop giving them out after being overbooked.
3. How to register?
Download the form from here. If link doesn’t work, go to the IFFI homepage and try. Fill it up, get two passport size photographs (stick one and attach the other) and courier them to: The Registration Office , Directorate of Film Festivals, Siri Fort Auditorium Complex, August Kranti Marg, NEW DELHI-1100049. Before November 15.
If you read this post a little too late, try couriering the same to: The Registration Office, Directorate of Film Festivals,IFFI Camp Office, Old Goa Medical Collage Complex, Campal, Panaji, Goa. 403001
4. Where to stay and how much does it cost?
The official site has a link to the most hotels there. You can call in and block rooms. You get non-A/c rooms for Rs.400 bucks onwards and A/c. rooms for 600 onwards if book in bulk.
5. What is the easiest way to get there?
Do NOT try the air or rail. Because Panjim is 40 kilometres away from the airport and the railway station and taxis usually charge at least Rs.600 (three times the delegate fee) to get there. The easiest way and the cheapest way into Panjim/Panaji is certainly the bus.
Most buses leave by six in the evening from Bangalore. So make sure you get to Bangalore by afternoon (take any of the morning trains from Chennai to Bangalore, Brindavan Express is a good choice since you won’t need to spend too much time in Bangalore). You will reach Panjim by seven. KSRTC has some really nice buses on the route.
The train from Chennai leaves only twice a week, is likely to be overbooked and also takes longer to get there.
6. What’s a good place to stay and how to go around?
Depends on what you want to do. If you want to just watch movies, stay in Panjim itself. If you will mostly be doing only movies, Panjim is a good idea. But there are no decent places to eat around Panjim. Or any nice place to hang out. Apart from the festival venues — the INOX multiplex.
If you want to watch movies and see Goa, then you better bring some cash along. Because, it’s ideal to stay in North Goa, (Candolim, Calangut, Baga, Anjuna — take your pick) on the other side of the river to get the real feel of Goa.
Panjim is like Pondicherry, only that it’s cleaner.
But the heart of Goa lies outside Panjim, in the long narrow winding roads that connect lazy little settlements along different beaches. But remember, that if stay on the other side of the river, you need to spend Rs.150 per trip to reach the festival venue. The best thing to do would be is to hire a bike (costs Rs.150-200 bucks) and fill your own fuel. It’s a distance of about 13-15 kilometres from Candolim. Calangut (3kms away from Candolim), Baga (another 2 or 3 kms from Baga), Anjuna (another 3-5 kms from Baga) are all much further away and you can add Rs.25-50 per extra stop.
7. Where to party?
Club Cabana. It was about 600 bucks per person last year. Unlimited booze. 2000 plus crowd, over 50 per cent firang population. Rocking music, fireworks in the sky, the best party house in Goa, with at least three levels of dance floors and swimming pools. Saturday nights will rock. So make sure you get your ass in there.
If trance is your type, head to Anjuna. The locals will be the best guide to the trance parties and raves that happen in secret secluded beaches. Anjuna is the druggie’s paradise. So even if you just look around like a lost puppy, you will find at least one peddler to ask you if need stuff. Ask them about the parties at your own risk, of course.
8. Where to shop?
The travelling evening bazaar. Last year, it was in Siolim. Ask the locals where its happening and on what day. You get the best bargains out there. And the most interesting exotic stuff. And of course, food.
9. Where do I find those churches Goa is known for?
South Goa. Most tourist attractions are a little further away from Panjim than attractions in North Goa. So for more exotic beaches, cheaper places to stay and privacy, stay down South. It is cut off from the crowd and there’s a lot to explore. But then, remember it is really far off from Panjim and makes sense only if you don’t plan to watch movies. Ideally, stay in Panjim and a take a day to explore South Goa. You wont get to see all of it but hey, you’ll get an idea of the old-world charm and architecture.
10. Where do I find more FAQs?