Goa is not India

A Documentary by the Austrian Rudolf Gottsberger

Exklusive Interview



Exclusive Interview
of Rudolf Gottsberger to IGSG


1 - Mr. Gottsberger, in your film "Goa is not India" you describe by the eyes of five dropouts who are stranded in Arambol. What is your personal experience of Goa?

I only got a small insight of the life in Goa because I only stayed there for four weeks.My main focus was the life of the Western protagonists, people who choose Goa, especially Arambol, as place to relax and meditate.I wanted to portrait this long term stayers and ask why they choose Goa and what makes this place so special for them.

I experienced Goa as a very ambivalent state. On the one hand there is this massive party tourism with all the negative effects on the locals and the infrastructure, on the other handyou can find also silence and meditation if you want.

The waste problem was very shocking for me, too. In the north of Goa there was no waste management and everyone burned their house waste in front of their houses or in their gardens, although Goa is the richest state in India.

I think Goa will change further in the next years. Arambol e.g. will be commercialized, especially when the bridge over the Tiracol river will be finished.

I would like to make a second film e.g "Goa is not India 2" and approach the subject from a different angle. It could be a portrait of the local Goans and how they deal and live with the rich foreigners who come every season.

2 - Five of the neo-hippies of your documentary film are Russians, one is Austrian and one comes from Switzerland. Does the Russian soul tick stronger at Arambol?

I think that the number of Russians visiting Goa is proportionately high compared to tourists from other countries. One reason maybe the missing touristic infrastructure since the revolution in Egypt. Another reason could be the low prices in India. Also the Aeroflot flies to Goa often. To sum it up I think there are also more Russians than people from other nations in Arambol.

3 - Dropouts and neo-hippies from the Western countries are scattered all over the world. Why did you choose those of Goa?

On the one hand I was interested in Goa because of historical reasons. Goa was occupied by the portuguese until 1961. On the other hand because of the hippie culture which evolved in the sixties. Also a good friend of mine lives in Goa every season and it is always good to have someone who is familiar with the place. I think it was worth it. Arambol is a very friendly and special place with a certain spirit.

4 - You may know that Russians and Israelis have formed their colonies in North Goa, especially in Arambol and Morjim without having much contact to the locals. Did you notice this as for the protagonists of your film?

I think foreigners band more together abroad. They share the same language and the same culture. That makes life easier for them. They exchange experience and learn a lot by their fellow countrymen about the special things in the country they are living in.

But the less they deal with the culture and the people in Goa the less they will know the spirit of it. Thats a fact.

5 - The excessive immigration to Goa by the so called "outsiders", Indians coming from outside of Goa, has recently led the Goan Remo Fernandes, one of the leading English rock musicians in India, to the statement that he  feels like a tourist in his  own country (Goa). Wouldn't it be better if you had titled your film "Arambol is not Goa"?

I don‘t think that the title would be better for my film. Nobody outside of India knows where Arambol is. And the film is not about Arambol in this special case. For me, „Goa is not India“ because Goa was occupied by the Portuguese, because it is the richest state in India, because there are some kind of enclaves among the foreigners, because some hippies found a knew home in Goa during the Sixties, and because life in Goa has a special character.

Remo Fernandes can clearly give a better insight for the actual problems in Goa because he is Goan and he lives in Siolim. I only painted the pictures of people who stranded in Goa, in this case Arambol. It is a panorama of dreams, wishes and desires, sometimes even the search for spiritual enlightenment. And therefore Goa seems to be the best place for these people.

Goa is not India
A Documentary by the Austrian Rudolf Gottsberger

57 minutes, 2012

Trailer: http://vimeo.com/43758439

Homepage: http://www.studiorot.at


The DVD can be ordered at RUDI@STUDIOROT.AT. Price: 10.- € exclusive shipping costs.


“GOA IS NOT INDIA” celebrated Premiere on Sept. 28, 2012 in Viena, at the theater Breiteseer (the oldest cinema of the World).


"Goa is not India," says Leon about the quaint village Arambol Beach situated in North Goa - a place well known as meeting point for neo-hippies, where people are searching for health and new inspiration in live, and where dropouts spend their time relaxing and chilling at the beach.

With a cheerful touch of irony the Austrian film maker Rudolf Gottsberger paints the loving pictures of five dropouts, who are stranded in Arambol: a panorama of dreams, wishes and desires, sometimes even the search for spiritual enlightenment. But the documentary also sheds light on the smaller and larger challenges of everyday life, its protagonists have to deal with... but just to enjoy "shanti times" again, as Elena, the Russian owner of the Hempcafé in Arambol describes.


"Goa is not India," says Leon about the quaint village Arambol Beach situated in North Goa. Before the astonished eyes of the locals his bride rides to their 7-day Jewish wedding on a decorated white horse like a princess. And about the traditional prayer shawl, that four of the wedding guests hold over the bride and groom’s head, Leon tells us: „We bought it from a guy called Mohammed at a Muslim shop, but it looked excellently jewish.“

The Carinthian Ingo, who left Austria after his mother died, takes us to the markets in Arpora and Anjuna. He shows us the hustle and bustle and reveals, what everybody does – tourists as well as locals – with their household waste: they burn it in the roadside ditch. Elena, the young Russian owner of the Hempcafé knows, what adventurers are looking for in Arambol: „You can find company, you can find loneliness.“ Currently, a bridge is being built that will connect Arambol with an airport in Maharashdra, and that will change the area. But it won’t be finished before 10-15 years, as Elena says, so everybody has still plenty of occasions to enjoy the „shanti times”.

And in Arambol the clocks tick at a different pace: The two Russians Maya and Tanit spend their days with tantra meditation and Mandala Dance in the tradition of the ancient Indian temple dancers. Ever since Maya cured herself with it from a severe illness, they teach this practise to other women: „So mainly divine energy coming in this moment...“

His very own moments of happiness finds Thierry, a guy from Switzerland, on the seat of his jampacked motorcycle. In Arambol he recharges his batteries for his journey around the world, that will take 10 years and leads him through all the continents. Thierry fears for his life considering the breakneck traffic in India. But about problems during the journey he knows: „There’s always a solution. People want to help with all their heart. You are never alone.”

With the help of his protagonists the Austrian film maker Rudolf Gottsberger reveals a microcosm of people with different backgrounds and aims, who have one thing in common: Arambol, the place that they are living at, where they work, relax and dream. We get to know Goa from their perspective – here and now – without slipping into a glorified view… Goa is not India…

Alyana im Brautkleid

Leon und Alyana


Die Russinnen Maya und Tanhit

Mandala dance

Der Schweizer Thierry mit Soldaten