Tag Archives: The Goa Run

John Owen : Take a Bow

Some films do see the light of the day even if it is just for a day or one screening. The Goa Run(name of the film in the festival) or ‘Peter Gaya Kaam Sey'(in Hindi) will have its only screening in the world at the prestigious Raindance Film Festival of London on 27th September 2014 at 1 pm. The film which has a huge backstory must be feeling extremely proud as it is being showcased at one of the best movie theatre in the world at the Lester Square, London.

Peter Gaya Kaam Sey/The Goa Run is the second film that I had shot for after Aamir but it was not released for reasons best known to the producers. This is one film which consumed a lot from a lot of us but gave a lot of joy to us as well while shooting mostly owing to the team and the camaraderie. We had a team of more than 70 people working on it. The whole team had put in a lot of hard work but one guy who gave almost everything to it is John Owen, the director of the film. Be it pre production, shooting or post production John was giving every bit of him to the film. Little did he know or imagine that his passion and devotion is being spent on something which won’t yield anything. By the time he was through with the film I guess the producers were also through with the film. They had apparently buried the film much before John was done with it. As time passed all those associated with the film, including me, started drifting away emotionally and physically as the producers had no intent of releasing it. But one person who refused to part with his hard work was John. The captain of the ship was the only one left on the ship when all others had abandoned the ship. He refused to accept his fate which didn’t have his handwriting on it and held on steadfastly to his belief in the film. They say ‘success is going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm’ and John has proved it. For me he is one of the biggest success stories.

A Brit by descent, John had made this film in Hindi. John loves Goa and he knows Goa better than some Goans do. He had initially decided to make this film in English because that is the only language he knows. But when he took his story to UTV, they decided to make this film in Hindi. John took the challenge even though he knew that it will not be a cakewalk for him. He had to sit with translators day in day out monitoring every line, every emotion and ensuring that the story which he had written in English doesn’t get lost in translation. Drafts after drafts were written and John spent almost a year to reach his shooting script. The gruelling 55 day shoot in Goa must have taken off many years from John’s life as he had to pay attention to the smallest detail as he did not understand the language. Shooting through the day, watching his footage in the night before sleeping and planning the next days shoot was his routine every single day for nearly 55 days. His homework was so immense that not even for a moment we actors thought we are working with a guy who doesn’t understand the language and yet he is making a Hindi feature film. He knew exactly what he wanted even though he did not understand what we were speaking. He had a very hard working team who assisted him with fierce loyalty – a team who would not compromise till they would deliver what their boss expected.

The post production went on for almost two years with John working meticulously on every department in the post. He had some very sound professionals working for him who were also stretching themselves for the undying commitment and passion of John. I know that without them John would have found it very difficult to finish the film. But somewhere towards the end John began to realise that the producers are shelving the film. John knocked from door to door of the concerned people to request them to give the film it’s due but their was no response from inside. It gets very difficult to get decisions reversed in a big corporate. The doors were shutting on John and the delay was taking its toll. Somewhere at this stage I too drifted away from the film and lost touch with John. I know a lot happened in John’s life from here on but I am not going to talk about what he had lost personally, financially or mentally in these four years. On the contrary I want to muster support for him by talking about his self belief, steadfastness and resolve.

Last I heard from John himself was about a few months back when he shared the delightful news about ‘Peter Gaya Kaam Sey’ being selected by the Raindance guys for an exclusive screening. And the excitement in his voice had some pride to it as well. The film was selected by the jury which means it made it on its own merit. I was stunned for a moment as I had imagined by now John must have accepted his fate and come to terms with it. But wait! I was wrong!! John has not called it quits yet and the game is on till you don’t quit! So it was back to this Brit guy with a ‘never say die attitude’ and as energetic as ever. Things had changed but not the challenges for John. He had this arduous task ahead of him to request and convince Disney now to allow him just one screening. Why Disney is because the mega corporate had taken over UTV a few years back and Peter Gaya Kaam Sey was a Disney property now. So John started knocking on the doors of the new corporate again but this time to just give him one screening. This one screening was very important for John as it is more for his ailing mom – Thelma, than for the world. All these years when John was fighting to stay afloat it was Thelma who was infusing strength in him. Like a textbook mom, Thelma stood behind her son like a rock. After repeated requests by both John and his mom to the who’s who in Disney John was granted one screening. Disney agreed to pull out the film from the closet it had locked many years back and allow John to have one screening.

I am the happiest after John and Thelma(John’s rock star mom) about this screening even if this is, in the present scenario, the only screening this film would ever get. For me it is John Owen’s victory and the saga will get over, if it gets over, with a bow. I am hoping that the film runs to a packed house and get a farewell it deserves. This could be the only case where a film gets its premiere and farewell in one screening! So those in UK please don’t miss the super exclusive screening of ‘The Goa Run’ aka ‘Peter Gaya Kaam Sey’ at the Raindance Film Festival on 27th September 2014 at 1 pm.