By Gasper Crasto, Team Mangalorean, Kuwait
Kuwait, Aug 5, 2007: Mario Fernandes, popularly known as Mario de Majorda is one of the established stalwarts of Konkani Stage to feature in the first Konkani E-Cinema 'BLACK Nhesop Atanchem Fashion' scheduled for release on August 10, 2007 at Masrah, Hawalli Auditorium.
Mario started as a singer at a young age of 13 in 'Somdir ani Lharam' of Felly Lucas and later sang in Jeoffrey de Majorda's 'To Monis Konn'.
Born to Antonette Severina Fernandes and John Fernandes, Mario comes from the beautiful coastal village of Calata-Majorda, Goa. He came to Kuwait in 1983 and has been active ever since on stage and other activities. Initially, Mario was able to pursue his great enthusiasm for acting by helping out in the Holy Family Cathedral's Parents Day programs wherein he used to write, direct, act, compose and also sing songs. He is currently the In-charge of the choir. His presence and works in Kuwait-Goa Tiatristhanchi Sonvstha (KGTS) and Goan Welfare Society (GWS) are hugely noticeable among the Indian community.
In a short tête-à-tête with Gasper Crasto, Mario revealed some interesting facts about his career as an actor acting in BLACK.
Q. What is the significance in having 'de Majorda' to your name? There are many such names for Goan actors. Can you shed some light on this?
A. The main significance of having such names is that, it identifies the actor to his village or his place of birth in Goa. 'De' which means 'from', was originally used by actors to distinguish between artistes who had similar names. The trend of such stage names in tiatros dates back to Portuguese times, perhaps from the days of legendary Aleixinho de Candolim and has continued to the present day. We have many famous tiatro personalities with such names, most famous being William de Curtorim, Marcelin de Betim, Kamat de Assolna, etc. Goan people can easily identify from where these artistes come from.
Legendary M. Boyer's drama of the 70's 'Sonvsar Sudhorlo' had a 'opening chorus' song which introduces each artiste by their birthplace...It goes , 'Ho zavun asa Alfred Rose, ganvan to ...” I am proud of my village and thus, on stage, I have always wanted to be identified myself with my village.
Q. Which are the hit dramas that you have directed?
Mario: I directed and staged my first tiatro 'Sambau' (Save) in Kuwait under Ferns Brothers banner in 1994. It was a big hit. My next tiatro 'Anvddo' (Desire) staged on 01st Dec, 2000 with a cast from Goa and those based in Kuwait was also a hit. The last drama 'Chuklelim Pavlam' (Mistaken Footsteps) in 2005 will be remembered for a long time for its high standard and moralistic message.
Q. What about performances in other dramas?
Mario: Prominent dramas that I have acted in Kuwait are 'Dadlo' of Rex de Bardez, 'Aliza' of Rafael de Majorda, Jose Rod's 'Tujem Naum Vhodd Zaum' where my performance with Comedians Ben, Domnic, Phillip, Luis and Josephine was highly applauded, 'Challis Dis Challis Rati' of Simon Gonsalves, etc. I also acted for Rosary Ferns, Laurente Pereira, Salu Faleiro and in Kuwait-Goa Tiatristhanchi Sonvstha (KGTS) organized musical shows, and also traveled to Qatar, Bahrain and Dubai for Konkani shows.
Q. Who inspired and encouraged you in your acting?
Mario: For what I am today, I attribute my success to my wife Janet Franco for her patience, understanding and standing by me at all times. My father popularly known as John Saxttikar is the one who encouraged me to sing at a very young age. During that time he worked for the Times of India, Bombay and used to do folk dance with legendary Goan artiste Robin Vaz. Whenever he came down to Goa, he would egg on me on to sing on stage. When I was young, my cousin Anthony Jose Ferns composed my songs. Ofcourse I compose all my songs now. I have released 3 Konkani audios entitled 'Moladik Jivit', 'Put' and 'Kitem Mhozo Fudar'… with my own compositions. I am indeed very proud that my son Jonathan has shown talent in acting, singing and music right from a very young age. I only hope that he continues in my footsteps
Q. Which has been your best performance in dramas?
Mario: As a comedian, my best performance was in Rafael de Majorda's drama 'Aliza'. In recent years, our trio of Cajetan-Marcus-Mario is very popular in Kuwait. I enjoy singing to the fullest be it solo, comedy, decent or trio. My role as a priest in Simon Gonsalves' 'Challis Dis Challis Rati' was the best that I have performed in a serious role. It was the toughest that I played in all my years as an actor. Infact, to study the character I had to take some training and seek blessings of Fr. Melvin of Holy Family Cathedral Church.
Q. Who are your favorite actors and musicians?
Mario: Comedians Domnic and Agustine are my favorite comedians of Konkani stage. I have high regard for Jose Rod for his acting and composing. Among the musicians I appreciate Succor D'Mello from Kuwait for his creativity and perfection.
Q. Tell us something about your role in BLACK. How did you prepare yourself for this role.
Mario: I play a character of a Police Inspector. For intense scenes such as these, I stand in front of mirror and try to emote different ways of doing it. By doing so, I get judgment about it. Sometimes, my wife gets scared looking at my antics during midnights in front of the mirror.
Q. You are an established writer-director of Konkani dramas in Kuwait. What did you find working under a reputed film director?
Mario: Being a friend, I know T-Bush quite well. He is a young campaigner, full of energy and eagerness, and a perfectionist at his work. T-Bush's knowledge on the latest technology in film-making is overwhelming. With his expertise, I am sure BLACK is going to be BEAUTIFUL. Based on his International award winning English short film, 'The Letter', I can say BLACK will be a movie of high excellence, infact it should be a masterpiece in the history of Konkani films. We will perhaps find more movies flowing from T-Bush following BLACK. That would be great for our Konkani language and regional Indian films.
Q. What is your opinion on home videos?
Mario: Everyone nowadays think they can make films. But it is reflected in the poor quality of the videos that we see. It is certain that T-Bush has not ventured into BLACK on a commercial basis. It is his sheer love towards our mother tongue Konkani and Indian culture to explore the depths of movie making. T-Bush might not make money out of this movie but he will surely gain lot of respect and appreciation from Konkani speaking people worldwide for his efforts.”
Q. What are the elements to be a good actor?
Mario: A good actor should be able to convey emotions to the audience. He should be able to bring the words and ideas in a script to life. As an actor, he must be able to become many different people. In order to make a character come to life, he must bring to the role those parts of himself that are similar to the character. As for me, I look deep inside myself to find feelings that will help me come across as sad and bitter. Studying the role in depth is always advisable. Memorizing lines without understanding the role is of little help.
Q. What is your message to youngsters who aspire to be stars?
Mario: Be humble, respectful and honor thy parents! To excel in acting or singing one needs to be dedicated and perfect. There is no short cut to be stars. For actors to be perfect one needs to practice a lot. It is first advisable to get adapted to the feel of stage and audience. You just can't fool today's audience. Best way for youngsters to showcase their talent is to perform at cultural shows, one-act play competitions and other platforms. Somewhere down the line they will be noted and approached to perform in a qualified, mega set-up like BLACK.
FACT FILE: Mario de Majorda
Birth Date: 23rd May
Place of birth: Kalina, Santacruz – Mumbai
Debut Acting: 1975 as a child artist
Favorite movie: Enter the Dragon (English) / Sholay (Hindi)
Favorite actress: Julia Roberts / Hema Malini
Favorite Actor: Charles Bronson / Amitabh Bachchan
Favorite Director: Steven Spielberg / Jose Rod
Favorite hobby: Singing/Acting/writing/directing/watching movies
Favorite website: www.goa-world.com www.bbc.com/
Favorite Place: Mauritius
Favorite Quote: Live and Let Live
(This article was printed Aug 5, 2007 in Kuwait's Arab Times)
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Black: Helen Pinto in a friendly appearance
A Tete-a-Tete with Cajetan Pereira
What makes 'Black' an E-Cinema?
Rowla Lewis: Amazing 'discovery' of BLACK
Crowning of 'Comedy Queen Querobina'
Black: Braz de Parra composes songs with danceable beat riffs
Lead actress of Black - Gracy Morais Speaks
'Black' film shot in Kuwait set for release