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Glen Barretto: First Goan director of Bollywood
Twenty-two years down the line Glen Barretto is first Goan-born director in the Bollywood industry. But the journey chasing his dreams has not been a path of roses which was laid to him on a platter. He has also donned many hats in the film industry.
HE DRAWS his inspiration on the art of storytelling from his late mother. The hunger and motivation to excel came from the career and competition success books. If boys and girls of his generation craved to make it big with a degree in medicine and engineering, Glen Barretto swam against the tide to try his luck in the Bollywood industry.

Twenty-two years down the line he is first Goan-born director in the Bollywood industry. But the journey chasing his dreams has not been a path of roses which was laid to him on a platter.
He had to slog for it. The Galgibaga-born Goan has since then donned many hats in the film industry, starting off as an assistant director to finally graduating as a director.

Recalling his sting in the film industry, Glen said that he was fired up with the dream of making it big in the film industry by the films he watched as a boarder at St Anthony High School, Duler Mapusa Goa.

“I was always inquisitive enough to find out what goes in the making of the films right at a young age in school. Every night after our dinner we were showed films on different topics by the Roman Catholic priests who run the school, majority of the films focused on sports. The sports films showed the slow motion action and I was deeply engrossed in finding how they do it and the techniques used in showing it on the screen,” said Glen.

Glen grew up in a generation where career guidance talk was something from outer space. And if some of his Chowgule College and higher secondary school colleagues from the science batch went ahead and joined the medical and engineering colleges in Goa. Glen packed his bags and hit the road to Pune city to get himself enrolled in the film institute, only to be turned back from its doors as graduation was the criteria.

“I stayed in Pune, after facing the disappointment of the film institute and with college admission in Goa not being a possibility, as it was already late August, I joined an automobile engineering course in Pune.”

But, luck clicked his way in Pune city in another way. The automobile engineering college’s loss was Bollywood film industry’s gain.

“Allan Webb, a documentary maker from England who specialised in documentary making from the third world was in India. He set up a base at Pune city. He was conducting a course on film making at the Pune’s film institute and I was one of his many students, hailing from different countries. It was theoretical cum practical training. With drug addiction a hot topic at that time in the 80’s all the students were asked to make documentaries ranging from half an hour to forty-five minutes by Webb,” recalled Glen.

During the eight-month training Glen got himself familiarised with the finer points of what goes into the making of a film, writing a script, acting, screen play, dialogues, casting, location of sets, budget of the film, production, editing and how a producer deals with the censor, all which prepared him for a life in the film industry.

Glen then made a small beginning by directing music videos and than fiction for different TV channels while making his film directorial debut with Jaane Hoga Kya starring Aftab Shivdasani and Bipasha Basu which was released in 2006.

The alumni of Chowgule College Margao started his journey in the Bollywood film industry as a chief assistant to Mansoor Khan (who earlier directed Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak ) in two films- Joh Jeeta Wohi Sikander and followed it with Akele Hum Akele Tum.  Both films featuring Aamir Khan. He was also associate director to Ashutosh Gowariker.

Mansoor Khan was himself puzzled as to why he choose Glen as his chief assistant from among the 4000-odd applications he had on his files, all vying to be his assistant.
Glen too is clueless about it till date. But, what turned the tables in Glen’s favour was the high regards Mansoor had for the Goans, he had an insider’s view - his life partner hailed from Goa.
And this is what Mansoor had to say to Glen when the entire crew was in Galgibaga shooting for a scene and stayed overnight and when there was no power supply.

“I do not know why I took you as my assistant, a boy from a small village which has no electricity and water supply,” recalled Glen.

It was at the same shooting that his parents had a first close glimpse of what goes into the making of the film and their son’s role in it.

Glen’s second film as director Aao Wish Karein was released on November 16 all over India is produced by Aftab Shivdasani and Mumbai Mantra, a film production branch of Mahindra and Mahindra.

“Aao Wish Karein is a fairy tale in which dreams turn into wishes and wishes come true. It is a film which will be enjoy by the entire family. The audience has liked the promos of the film. The film will make an emotional connection with audiences everywhere, especially due to its visual splendour and soulful and melodious tracks that suit every mood,” said Glen.

Goan youngsters

Goa is the permanent venue for the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) and has created a brand of its own, ever since Goa was made a permanent venue in 2003. But the question that emerges, why are there not many Goan film produced by Goans and showcased during the festival. A question which troubles many Goans and that includes Goan director Glen Baretto.
“It is really surprising that there are not many Goa-related films or films produced by local Goan directors and shown during the festival. Hopefully, the trend will change in the coming years,” said Glen.

He calls for the Goan youngsters who wish to make it big to broaden the horizons.
“Film industry is a vast industry and a broad medium. There are many departments and career opportunities which Goan youths should grab with proper training. Take for instance, the Oscar award Resul Pookutty got for best achievement in sound for the film Slumdog Millionaire.”

He  along with another Longuinos Fernandes of Slumdog Millionaire fame are ready to help the Goan youth if any career guidance or a short film making course is organised by the Goa government.

“We are ready to help the Goan cause and to help the youngsters wishing to make their way into the film industry. With so many films being shot in Goa it is high time Goans explore the career options in the industry,” he added.

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