Thursday, July 8, 2010

Saxtti dialect draws the laughs on Konkani stage

Saxtti dialect draws the laughs on Konkani stage

- by Joaquim Fernandes, TNN, 15 February 2010

PANAJI: When he takes to the stage, attired in Michael Jackson's trade-mark black outfit complete with gold trimmings, white socks, white glove, black shades and hat, there is an instantaneous applause. At his mimicry of Jackson's gesticulations, and his belting out the Konkani version of Jacko's pop hit 'Black or White', the applause swells.

It's as if the King of Pop himself is on stage. It is, however, not Jackson singing in Konkani, but new comic on the Konkani stage Richard of Raia enacting a role in Mario Menezes' “Beiman Kir”. Before Richard took over as 'Michael', the role was portrayed by Ben Evangelisto from Benaulim. Michael's 'girlfriend' is played by Joana, also from Benaulim.

It is no coincidence that all three comedians come from Salcete. Konkani comedy is now dominated by South Goa artistes. Tiatr Academy of Goa president Tomazinho Cardozo says, “Nowadays, there are only a few tiatr artistes in North Goa. There was a time, when North Goa dominated. When there are not enough tiatr artistes, how will you get comedians?” A renowned playwright himself, Cardozo says the proliferation of comedians in Salcete has nothing to do with the language.

The Salcete dialect of Konkani has been commonly used by Konkani comedians, who even poke fun at the Bardez dialect by mimicking it on stage. Konkani novelist, journalist and playwright Bonaventure D'Pietro, says the Salcete dialect became popular with the emergence of the new form of Konkani drama called khell-tiatr, which is popular in the South. Pietro, however, said that comedy in Konkani tiatr was pioneered by Bardez artistes. “In those days, even Salcete comedians would speak in the Bardez dialect,” says Pietro, citing the example of the late Anthony Mendes of Margao. “He was a Saxtticar, but on stage, he turned into a Bardezkar. You can see this in the film 'Amchem Noxib',” he says. That has turned around in recent years. Says writer-director of 67 Konkani tiatrs Roseferns, “A few years back, we had comedian Vitorino from Calangute-Bardez.

The audience loved him when he spoke in the Salcete dialect, which he did with difficulty. I think, it is the popularity of the Salcete dialect which is the reason for South Goa comedians dominating the Konkani stage now.” Cardozo is hopeful this will change. Says he, “There are still a few comedians in North Goa. There is Christopher (Comedian 64) from Divar and Mathew from Merces. Earlier, some of the best tiatr comedians were from the North. Jacint Vaz and Kid Boxer are examples. It is cyclic and as time passes, we may get more comedians from North Goa.”

Menezes agrees with Cardozo on that aspect. “Most tiatr troupes and major directorsare from South Goa. Only two or three troupes are from North. Since most artistes are from South Goa, comedians also come from the South. It must be a matter of convenience for the artistes,” Menezes said. Menezes lists out his top comedians which includes the brothers Jacob and Humbert, Agostinho, Selvy, Sally, Ben Evangelisto, John D'Silva, Ambe, Jesus, Janet, Joana, Anita and the siblings Dominic and Luis Bachan. Only the lastnamed are from North Goa (Ponda). Menezes too admits that North Goa artistes earlier dominated Goan comedy. Even now, he rates Sheikh Amir and Comedian 64 highly. Menezes opined that dialect could be an important reason for South Goa dominance. “The Salcete dialect is now preferred for comedy and Bardez comedians must be finding it difficult to speak it,” he said.

(The Times of India)

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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.