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‘Cynthia’ – Goa’s foray into horror films

Director, actor and music producer, Elvis Kahn Fernandes from Mapusa recently released the trailer of his debut Konkani horror film ‘Cynthia’ . In a tête-à-tête with NT BUZZ Elvis shares insight into the film


As Goans we have grown up listening to various ghost and horror stories, either told to us by our grandparents or parents to warn us about certain dangers or by our friends to scare us. Some of the very famous Goan ghost stories we have heard were that of Jakni Bandh, Baytakhol road, ghost of Christalina in Saligao, the D’Mello House, the Three Kings Church in Cansaulim and several others. These stories have been passed on from one generation to the other.

As a child, Elvis Kahn Fernandes too was told about similar horror tales by his father and the people of his locality. It used to simultaneously amuse and scare him; little did he know that these childhood stories would become the basis of his first Konkani horror film ‘Cynthia’.

The film ‘Cynthia’ is deemed to be the first in the genre of Konkani cinema; it follows a young couple who shifts to a new house with no clue of what awaits them there. “It is a story of a couple who fall in love and later settle down as a family. The boy purchases a new house as he gets a promotion. They have no clue about the house or its history. While the boy is at work, the girl stays back home. There is a Goan maid who comes and leaves as soon as she finishes her work. Throughout the day, the girl is left alone at home and that is when supernatural things start happening and thus the story unfolds. To know what happens next, one would have to watch the film,” says Elvis keeping the suspense.

The film features Elvis himself with Maya Kalsi, Gauri Kamat, Kunal Malarkar, Fermino Goes, Faith Barretto and Prince Jacob. The film has been entirely shot in North Goa and includes all Goan actors.

As Elvis is one of the first one to attempt this genre in Goa. He says: “If you watch the film you will know that this kind of production has never been attempted before in Goa. In terms of sound and video quality and concept and content it’s all what Goa will get to experience for the very first time. It is a first in many things. I liked the fact that I was breaking all the norms and horror being a less explored genre I thought of giving an interesting touch to it. There are several films surrounding social issues, romance, comedy but very few that have been entirely based on horror.”

While brainstorming for the name of the film, Elvis came across a popular Goan name ‘Cynthia’. He thought the local Goans would easily associate to it and therefore named his first film ‘Cynthia’. “Nowadays, on social media it’s gaining a lot of buzz as many people are tagging the film poster and trailer to their friends who have the same name and they are like ‘is it a story on our friend’? And all sort of funny memes are up there,” he says.

He prides over the film’s sound and video quality and says that the quality can meet international standards. “I strongly believe that the film’s sound quality is very good as it allows the film to play in top-notch multiplexes across the world whether they have 5.1 or 7.1 my movie will be able to play there. The sound design is mimicked in such a way that is nothing less than what we have in Bollywood and Hollywood. All this I have been able to achieve with limited resources and finances.”

After completing his graduation in Mass Communication from St Xavier’s College, Mapusa, he moved to Mumbai to gain more knowledge about the music and the film industry.

He released his first alternative rock single ‘Can’t see tomorrow’ which was featured on VH1. In Bollywood, he tried his hand at assisting, directing, lyrics and dialogue writing, production and moreover in music direction for various brands, advertisements and feature films.

Having worked in Bollywood for nearly 13 years, Elvis points out to why Goan filmmakers are finding it difficult to make films in Konkani today. He says: “The Konkani film industry is still blooming and there is a need to be equipped with resources, budget, equipments and infrastructure in order to flourish. Though we might have good quality content and a plan in place, it is a tough task to find financers and producers. At the same time it’s hard to tap the Goan audience as the number is not quite regular.”

Happy with the fact that the producer of the film Joseph M Lobo gave him the freedom to bring out his creativity without compromising on anything, Elvis says: “While working with producers it’s not easy as they tend to come in between your creativity and work. But Joseph gave me the space and the finance to showcase my creative side without interfering with any of my work. I completed the production in Goa in a span of twelve days while the post-production took place in Mumbai.”

He calls upon the Goan audiences to watch the film as he believes that people’s support is much needed. He plans on premiering the film ‘Cynthia’ abroad by the end of the year. He has also acted in an upcoming film ‘New Year Party’ starring alongside actor Shakti Kapoor. After ‘Cynthia’ Elvis has plans of releasing many more films and projects.

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