Sunday, October 4, 2009

H. Britton Will Live On Forever

H. Britton Will Live On Forever
●Tomazinho Cardozo


Konkani Tiatr stage is passing through a critical phase. Few months back a stalwart of Konkani stage M. Boyer and another tiatr personality, Lucas Fernandes, bid adieu to all tiatr lovers. Within a very short span of time, yet another multi-talented personality of the tiatr stage, H. Britton passed away on 24th September 2009. H. Britton’s contribution to Konkani stage is not only immense but unique too. I consider his contribution unique because his acting as a female character kept the Konkani tiatr stage alive when female artistes were reluctant to act on the Tiatr stage.


H. Britton’s real name was Hermegildo Camilo. In fact I saw him on the Tiatr stage during the yearly tiatr staged by the villagers of Britona on the occasion of the feast of Our Lady of Penha de France, in the late 1960s. If I am not mistaken, young, handsome and energetic Hermegildo had come down from Bombay to Goa for the village feast. This was clear from the announcement that had been made informing the tiatr audience that Hermegildo would sing two songs. Over 600 audience plus was eager to listen and see Hermegildo in action on the stage. Everyone in the audience was very happy. Continuous whistling by the boys from behind filled the atmosphere. I was surprised at the behaviour of the audience after Hermegildo’s name was announced. I realized that Hermegildo was very popular among the villagers. I was also informed that Hermegildo was acting in the tiatr after a gap of four years. Naturally people were anxious to see the acting of their most talented young artiste from the village at that time.

At last Hermegildo came on the stage with his inimitable style and rendered a song which sent the whole audience into pills of laughter. He was called again and again by the audience. But the best in Hermegildo was yet to come. The second song rendered by Hermegildo was excellent. He dressed as a girl and rendered the song in his unique style. His attire, his body movements, his actions and facial expressions mesmerized the audience. He was a perfect young lady criticizing the boys in her song. Although he criticized boys in that song, the boys in the audience could not resist in whistling more and more to bring him back on the stage again and again. He was the darling of the villagers of Britona at that time and hence they
called him Hermegildo and not H Briton although he had become a very prominent artiste in that name on the tiatr stage in Bombay at that time.

H. Britton’s singing, dancing and acting as a female character has no parallel in the history of Tiatr. He dominated the Tiatr stage as a female artiste for a long time although he had to go abroad in between for better prospects. After returning back he again embraced his first love – the tiatr. Besides being a very good singer and actor, he was a superb lyricist too. His composition was not only rich in content but
also full of wit and humour. He must have composed over 700 songs besides singing thousands of songs with other tiatr artistes including M. Boyer, Jacinto Vaz, and others.

He wrote and directed full length tiatrs too. His first tiatr was “Ekvottachem Foll” which was a hit. Some of his popular tiatrs which have won the hearts of the people were: “Custom Officer”, “Jivit Kuwaitchem”, “Bebdo Put”, “Bunhad Naslolem Ghor”, etc. However, as a singer, he has captured the hearts of the people. He has many albums to his credit. His songs namely ‘’Bandra Fest’ and ‘Pandu Lapiao’ has become a part and parcel of our cultural heritage.

As a female artiste of the tiatr stage he was responsible to keep the flag of Konkani Tiatr flying high when there was scarcity of girls to act in Tiatrs. He filled that vacuum then and saw that Tiatr not only lives but lives as a vibrant dramatic form of Goa.

(This Article was published by Times of India (Goa) dated 26th September, 2009)
Picture courtesy: www.goa-world.com

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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.