Monday, March 22, 2010

Rico Rod, a lifetime of achievement

Rico Rod, a lifetime of achievement

Published on: March 18, 2010 - Navhind Times

by J P Pereira

When the Tiatr Academy, Goa, organised the first Popular Tiatr Festival, veteran Rico Rod was requested to inaugurate the festival.

This popular actor, with his impeccable comic timing, has carved a niche for himself among lovers of Konkani ‘tiatr’.

Born on 22nd January, 1933, Ricardo Vicente Rodrigues, son of Luis Filipe and Anna Conceicao Rodrigues assumed the name Rico Rod for the stage and wowed the audience with his acting, singing and direction–his forte being comedy. Hailing from Chinchinim, Rico completed ‘Segundo Grao’ and continued his education in English. As a young boy, he would love to perform at school functions. The Parish Priest arranged for him to sing with professionals and an amateur performer was introduced to the Konkani stage.

Rico then decided to try his luck in Bombay and securing a job there, he tried to meet all the big actors of the Konkani stage. On one occasion an actor had to urgently leave for Goa and Rico was asked to replace him. This was a comedy role and he did it well.

Soon there were roles in dramas by the late Seby Coutinho, the late Champion Alvares and so many others. The late Alfred Rose was a source of encouragement. He would write special roles for the young actor and Rico Rod attributes his success on the stage, to the Melody King. Tiatr also enabled him to tour places like Nairobi, Mombasa, Uganda and others where Goans were found.

Rico Rod wrote and directed his own ‘tiatr’. The first was ‘Nanv Naslolo’. This was followed by ‘Paichem Vhoddponn’, ‘Prachit’, ‘Goenchem Udok’, ‘Bailek Lagon’ and ‘Duspott ani Ekvott’. In ‘Torui kiteak sotaitai’, he played five different roles surprising the audience with his versatility and was named ‘Prince of Comedy’ a title the veteran never used in his career as a ‘tiatrist’.

He produced the film ‘Kortubancho Sounsar’, a love story with lots of comedy and Rico Rod did a fine imitation of Oliver Hardy, which had the audience in splits. Unfortunately the film was not a success. However the audience will remember him in films like ‘Amchem Noxib’, ‘Sukachem Sopon’, ‘Mhoji Ghorkarnn’, ‘Jivit Amchem Oxem’ and ‘Bhuierantlo Mhonis’.

He has recorded for HMV and songs like ‘Dorji’, ‘Duddvank Lagonu’ and ‘Johny Johny’ besides others were very popular. He also presented plays on the radio in Bombay. Today, Rico Rod is a happy man. His career was a success and brings back good memories for the actor. His five children are well-settled, he lives with his wife Matilda at Chinchinim and manages his own business. We wish you good health Sir and thank you for the contribution you have made to the Konkani stage.

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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.