Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Titan of tiatr
Titan of tiatr
If the vibrant theatrical form known as tiatr in Goa could ever have one
single defining voice, that would be the voice of M Boyer. A single
cantar sung by the legend was enough to ensure a packed house, which would insist on an encore. But Boyer was much more than a great singer. He was a pioneering dramatist who brought new trends to the Konkani stage.
A matchless script writer, Boyer wrote a number of highly acclaimed tiatrs, some of which are recognised as timeless classics of the Konkani stage. But one tiatr that deserves to be named because it made ripples in the genre was ‘Ekuch Rosto’. The drama, on the unspoken but unshakable communal harmony between Goa’s two major communities, not only went on to be an unprecedented success, but spawned a huge number of ‘replies’ and ‘sequels’ bearing similar names, with the ‘rosto’ theme running through them all.
But it was M Boyer’s singing that defined the legend. His tightly woven lyrics and signature style invariably left audiences spellbound and demanding encores. It was not at all unusual for him to honour two encores for a single cantar. He was indisputably the most successful singer of the Konkani stage. His ability to extemporise while under the lights, with brilliant little rhymes composed on the spot, swept audiences off their feet. He was no court bard; some of his cantars contained trenchant criticisms of the high and mighty, including ministers.
The Sangeet Natak Academy – India’s highest institution in the performing arts – has honoured M Boyer with the Sangeet Natak Academy Award. He is the only Goan artiste to receive this prestigious award, and this underlines his enormous contribution to Goan culture. But that is not all. The government of India has taken note of this great son of Goa, and awarded him the prestigious Padma Shri. Very few Goans have the honour of receiving this award, and M Boyer is one of them.
But tiatr and cantars were not his only contribution to Goa. M Boyer believed that Konkani alone could secure the future of the Goan identity. He was a strong supporter of the Konkani movement that led to statehood for Goa, and of all initiatives to strengthen the Goan identity. He wrote songs of solidarity and unity, to emphasise the importance of Konkani for Goa.
At the time of his passing, he was 78 years old. M Boyer was born on 11 October 1930, as Manuel Aguiar. Though his parents tried to discourage him, our Manuel was head over heels in love with the stage. And, under the stage name M Boyer, he achieved dizzy heights that most of us simply dream of. Our thoughts are with his wife Martha and his sons Seby, Ramos, Stanford, Erol and Syvel in their moment of loss. May his soul rest in peace.
M Boyer’s fame will live on
Irineu Gonsalves, Verna
Your editorial ‘Titan of tiatr’ (Herald, 1 June) was a fitting tribute to the doyen of Goan tiatr. In the demise of M Boyer, the tiatr fraternity has lost a pioneer and the citizens of this state a great entertainer.
M Boyer’s death in fact marks the end of an era, an era whose standards the present crop of tiatrists will find hard to match. I am yet to see a personality on the stage like M Boyer. Apart from him, the only other performer to draw applause from the audience while making his entry itself was Alfred Rose.
The magic of his personality and his mastery in composing songs and cantos left his imprint in the hearts of tiatr goers. Our tiatrists owe a great debt to him for his unequalled and unfailing interest in the progress of tiatr entertainment in our state. Most of his songs contained practical and sound suggestions. He was undoubtedly a tiatr genius, and his themes were magnificent. He was a versatile man varied gifts. As you rightly pointed out in your editorial, “His ability to extemporise while under the lights, with brilliant little rhymes composed on the spot, swept audiences off their feet.”
His death is indeed a public loss. M Boyer leaves a shining path for the tiatr fraternity to humbly tread. During his illness, not the slightest murmur or complaint escaped his lips. When this writer, a huge fan of his, remarked to him how patient and resigned he was, he replied, “When a strong man is down, he must be patient.”
The world honours its heroes eternally. Unlike others they are not forgotten and consigned to oblivion. On the contrary, the heroes who made their State proud with their noble and selfless work are all remembered, honoured and held up as models to the younger generation to follow. Their spirits live on. M Boyer’s spirit should spur the tiatr fraternity to greater endeavours.
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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 www.goa-world.com 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.