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In sombre times, Goa flashes a '1000 smiles'

The '1000 smiles of Goa' is an initiative by three men from diverse backgrounds.

News18test sharma |

Updated:December 30, 2010, 2:59 PM IST
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In sombre times, Goa flashes a '1000 smiles'
The '1000 smiles of Goa' is an initiative by three men from diverse backgrounds.
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Panaji: Just when one thought that rising fuel and onion prices, soaring inflation, routine political turmoil and a corruption-ridden government had scrubbed the smile off every Goan, here's one possible reason to smile.

The government of Goa has officially endorsed a '1000 smiles of Goa' event, in which 10 budding photographers, mostly students, shoot for 10 straight hours across 10 different locations in the coastal state of Goa, capturing smiling faces of men, women and children.

The '1000 smiles of Goa' is an initiative taken by three men from diverse backgrounds - Atmaram Deshpande, a police superintendent, Prasad Pankar, a fashion photographer, Chris da Gama, an advertising professional - and was launched by state Tourism Minister Nilkant Halarnkar in Panaji Wednesday.

The event, which aims to present a snapshot of the true face of Goa, its people and the warmth and essence of the place, is inspired by an experiment on similar lines in London and Barcelona a few years back.

"The '1000 smiles of Goa' project showcases the essence and spirit of Goa in a snapshot. The project motivates youth, including students to take to this art form while encouraging them to look at our beautiful state through the creative and sensitive lens of the photographer," Tourism Director Swapnil Naik said Thursday.

He added that the event would be backed the Goa tourism department and would be featured on its annual calendar, along with other cultural events like the carnival.

Atmaram Deshpande, who represents a state police that has received a drubbing on the credibility count for bad investigation skills, corruption and overt linkages to the drug mafia here, has found reason to smile.

"We need to celebrate and promote the people of Goa in addition to the beaches, monuments and other attractions. Hospitality, which Goa is famous for, stems out of its people. '1000 smiles of Goa' is a festival of the people of Goa and we hope that Goa Tourism will take it up as an official event of the state from next year," Deshpande said.

Held during the festive week of December every year, which coincides with peak tourism season in Goa, the promoters of the project are keen that the state tourism department features the event in its annual tourism calendar.

The event which is in its second edition in Goa is quite new to India. So far it has been held in only three cities - Hyderabad, Pune and Goa.

"We want to take this concept across the country. We are hoping that people in other cities who share our passion will come forward and make this happen," said Deshpande, who is spearheading the project.

Prasad Pankar, who also runs a photography academy in Goa said: "A smile is a unifying force which cuts across boundaries of language, gender, caste, religion and community. We look forward to widening our horizons with the support of the people of Goa."

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