Monday, May 25, 2009

A.R. SOUZA-FERRAO - A Versatile Tiatr Artiste

Press Conference
Held on 23rd May, 2009, at the Kala Akademy, Goa

A Brief Note on:
A.R. SOUZA-FERRAO - A Versatile Tiatr Artiste

A.R. Souza Ferrao Cultural & Charitable Trust in collaboration with Tiatr Academy – Goa will organize the Birth Centenary Celebrations of late A.R. Souza Ferrao on 1st and 2nd June 2009. The Celebrations will be held at the Joao Agostinho Fernandes Auditorium at the Ravindra Bhavan, Margao, Goa. A brief profile of late A.R. Souza Ferrao is given here below:

Augusto Remedios Souza Ferrao was born on June 1, 1909 at Ambora – Raia, Salcete, Goa to Mr. Joaquim Mariano Souza and Mrs. Maria Cecilia Ferrao. Young Augusto Remedios studied in the Parchial School in Margao. From there he joined the Government Primary school in Portuguese. After completion of his Portuguese ‘Segundo Grau’, he joined the Catholic Educational Institute to study English. Besides dramatic art, he was a good artist and in order to develop this talent he studied at J.J. School of Art in Bombay. Although he was acting on tiatr stage during his school days, he never neglected his studies. In the Parochial School he learnt music and violin. He had a good voice and flair for acting right from childhood.

Maiden appearance.
Mr. Basilio Furtado from Chinchinim introduced Souza-Ferrao to the Tiatr stage. He acted as ‘Princess Diana’, - a female character - in his drama ‘Naddponn Amigachem’ staged at Clube Harmonia Hall at Borda. Although Souza-Ferrao was totally new to the stage he acted wonderfully well. The songs that he sang were also big hits. He went on becoming popular. Because there were too many Souzas in the tiatr community, he preferred to have a different identity for himself. Therefore, he combined his father’s and mothers’ surnames and made Souza-Ferrao his surname. Then he styled his name as A. R. Souza – Ferrao, by which he became all famous!
He has acted with all the the past famous Konkani playwrights and directors such as M/s Joao Agostinho Fernandes, Saib Rocha, J.P. Souzalin, Jack Aquila, Rogaciano Ernest Rebello, John Lazarus D’Souza, etc.

Once a famous Portuguese actor named Silva Sanches came to perform in Bombay at Royal Opera House. The Portuguese Consul selected M/s Luis Borges and Souza-Ferrao, the only two Goan artistes, to act in the programme. The show was attended by a selected audience. Of all, the two Goan performers proved outstanding and of course, Souza-Ferrao received more applause.

At the All India Radio.
Souza – Ferrao was the first Konkani artiste to bradcast the first Konkani musical programme on All India Radio, Bombay on November, 11, 1936. Mr. Souza-Ferrao produced the programme for which the music was provided by Mr. Manuel Alphonso. He was an excellent composer of lyrics as well as music and equally excellent singer too. Many of his hit songs were recorded by HMV and other recording companies.

At the National level
In 1954 and 1955, Souza-Ferrao was the only Konkani artiste to be invited to perform in Delhi on the occasion of the Republic Day. ‘The Goan Folk Song and Dance Party’ led by Souza-Ferrao was adjudged as the best. The then President of India, Dr. Rajendra Prasad and Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, praised Mr. Souza Ferrao for his excellente performance. The Central Government produced a documentary - ‘The Folk Dances of India’- in which Souza-Ferrao’s folk dances of Goa were included. Besides the Folk Dances Troupe, Souza Ferrao had his own dramatic Troupe called Jolly Brothers Darmatic Club through which he encouraged youngsters to enter theTiatr stage.

A valuable writer
Souza-Ferrao scripted and directed many plays out of which ‘Almam Vetat Sorgar’, ‘Pech-Pech’, ‘Kazari Okol’, ‘Ghatkeponn’, ‘Zotkaxi’, ‘Santan Bavdi’, ‘Govio Put’ and ‘Paichem Farikponn’ became hit. Besides, he also helped many playwrights to stage their shows. He also directed many of Mr. Joao Agostinho Fernandes’ plays. Souza Ferrao believed that good singing, dancing and acting are essential elements that go into making a good artiste.

A versatile actor
Souza-Ferrao was a multifaceted personality. He could fit in any role. His acting ability was proved by the different roles he polayed on the Tiatr stage. He had acted as a girl, as an old man, as an old woman, as a Hindu, as a Manglorean, as a landlord, as a mad man, as a drunkard, etc. His forte was Goan Kunnbi roles.
(The cartoon was forwarded to by the Cartoonist himself (ALEXYZ) - Thanks)

On the Silver Screen.
From his childhood, Souza-Ferrao wished to act in films. In the late 40s when Mr. AL Jerry Braganza announced his first film Mogacho Aunddo his hopes brightened, but was disappointed because Mr. Braganza did not include any commerciat Tiatr artiste in his film.
However he fulfilled his silver dream when he acted in the film “Amchem Noxib” which was a big hit. Since then he acted prominent and varied roles in almost all the major Konkani films such as ‘Amchem Noxib’, ‘Nirmonn’, ‘Sukhachem Soponn’, ‘Mhuji Ghorkarn’, ‘Kortubancho Sounsar’, ‘Jivit Amchem Oxem’, ‘Bhuierantlo Munis’, ‘Boglantt’, etc.

A humane personality
Besides his stage and screen life, he was a gem of a person in his day-to-day life. He always cared for others particularly the poor and the downtrodden. He was one artiste who was ever ready to stage his shows in aid of causes that serve the society. Once, during Portuguese times, Governor Cabral’s wife wanted to raise funds to help T.B. patients. Dr. Froilano de Melo and Dr.Victor Dias, in order to swell this fund asked Souza-Ferrao to help and he, with his open heart, organized numerous shows in different villages in aid of the T. B. patients of Goa. Considering the wishes and ideals of late Souza-Ferrao, the Trust – A. R. Souza-Ferrao Cultural & Charitable Trust – has been established to promote the ideals of this great personality.

Souza-Ferrao expired on March 6, 1978 at St. George Hospital, Bombay. He was 69.
He was the greatest artiste, the Konkani stage has so far produced. On gramophone records today, we hear his sweet voice, on the silver screen he comes alive and on the stage we will remember him as an actor who had a vision for Goan Tiatr, song and music.

Tomazinho Cardozo
Tiatr Academy – Goa.

N.B. The above inputs on the life of A. R. Souza Ferrao
are by John Claro Fernandes.

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A big e-welcome to you. Tumcam Maie-mogacho ieukar. Enjoy Life - This is not a rehearsal! Konkani uloi, boroi, vach ani samball - sodankal. Hich Goenchi osmitai ani amchem khalxelponn. Goenchi amchi Konkani bhas! Ekvottachem saddon Goenkaranchem. This is Gaspar Almeida from Parra, Bardez, Goa, based in Kuwait and am connected with the website created by Ulysses Menezes, and as Moderator of the famous first of its kind Gulf-Goans e-Newsletter (since 1994) and The Goan Forum and several Goan and Indian associations and forums and e-forums in Goa, India, Kuwait, The Middle East and worldwide.