By Gasper Crasto
Photo coutesy: Agnelo Reagan
“Any event done without publicity is like an act done in darkness.” -Agnello A. S. Fernandes (President – Navelim Youth Centre, Kuwait)
Kuwait: ‘Aitar Budhvar’, a Konkani drama written and directed by Comedian Salu Faleiro, was staged to a near full-house at Kuwait Medical Hall on 16th November 2012 but did not reach up to people’s expectations as far as the storyline was concerned.
In a modern world, the script of ‘Aitar Budhvar’ took the audience years back into life with it’s voodoo and ancient theme of black-magic which is perhaps long forgotten or is hardly known to be existing. Most in the audience, or in today’s world, are either unaware of such sorcery or don’t believe in such practices anymore. ‘Aitar Budhvar’ would be a huge hit if it is staged in some of the remote, rural areas of Goa where black-magic or witchcraft maybe still popular; certainly not in this part of the world.
The title of ‘Aitar-Budhvar’ (Sunday-Wednesday), a tiatr in the making by Comedian Salu for nearly 3 years, was unveiled in the ‘First Pordho’ itself. The story depicts a rich lady inclined towards dual beliefs of the almighty (on a Sunday) and the devil (on a Wednesday). However, the script was pulled on for a variety of ‘dramatic’ twists and a ‘Hindi filmi’ suspense, just to highlight and defend the title’s meaning and message at the end.
Overall, the script was short of authentic ‘scene-sceneries’, ‘cantos’, emotions or top-class dialogues or any direct correlation to the Kuwait-Goan society, thereby reflecting sloppily on the imaginative intellectuality of the director. The entire presentation, however, was highly respectable and deserves full credit to the courage and passion of a young simpleton director like Comedian Salu for having gathered a mega cast together to stage the show against all odds.
All the actors played their part with great enthusiasm and flow.
‘Lighthouse of Konkani Stage’ Irene Vaz stole the limelight in the lead role with a fabulous performance and an aristocratic presence on stage. Her fluency in dialogues, elegant and graceful appearance, rich costumes and attractive attire, lighted up the show. Irene surely displayed a class of highest excellence seen on Konkani stage.
‘Hit-man’ of Konkani stage Sylvester Vaz and Braz de Parra had major roles in the drama. Both the actors did good justice with a strong demonstration -- Sylvester brought richness to the stage by his sheer image while Braz de Parra portrayed a role similar to the one that made him famous in T-Bush’s Konkani E-Cinema ‘Black’. Nevertheless, the roles were too simple and standard in script to be termed wonderful; the two stars are certainly made for much bigger performances.
Gennifer Marshall and Rita Mascarenhas, perhaps acting first time on Konkani stage in Kuwait, were perfect with their ‘entries’, acts and delivery of dialogues. The girls should surely be seen in much more challenging roles in future Kuwait dramas. Manuel was dashing in his ‘actions’ and ‘looks’ too.
With the 3 talented comedians, director Salu Faleiro, comedian Simla, and Mangaloren star Lucy Aranha, the comedy could have been the toast of the show. However, the threesome failed to crack much desired laughter out of the audience. Although the actors put up their best efforts in all the acts, the comedy was just run of the mill and below par. Infact, Jeremiah Vaz, who played a short spell of a ‘European girl’ in the sideshows, amused the crowd more than the comedians, with his fantastic outfit and style, and delicacy of English. The audience craved to see more of the character (and even more so – the ‘beautiful’ Jeremiah facing the crowd) which regrettably was not to be. Roulland Fernandes in the role of ‘Parabens doctor’ too made everyone laugh with just a single, hilarious act.
Cajetan de Sanvordem enacted the role of the black-magician ‘Nagraj baba’ with precision brilliance. His physique resembled a well-bred sadhu, however his crumbling getup of the beard, which he kept adjusting throughout, was much to be desired. His deputy Luis de Sanguem too was a treat to watch with a perfect Hindu accent and an exact replica of ‘sadhus’ seen on Indian streets.
Child artistes Evalon Rodrigues and Joshua Gonsalves made their presence felt without any nervousness or fear of stage while Lawry M and Clara Rodrigues delighted in their acts, playing noteworthy cameos with impeccable taste and gusto.
None of the actors in the drama seemed to have had the penchant to exploit the mikes to full potential. Adrian Goes had a nice character of an ‘effeminate’ man, later revealing his true identity as a bold ‘CID’ which would have looked glowing had he spoken his dialogues a little louder or been closer to the mike.
Best parts of the tiatr were the ‘kantaram’. Outstation stars Rosario de Benaulim, Seby de Divar and the Dubai Trio were the most favourites of the audience.
With a voice as powerful as thunder, and loud and clear as a train-whistle, Rosario de Benaulim rendered 2 memorable, spine-chilling solos which will remain in the hearts of Kuwait audience for the captivating lyrics, unique tunes, and the message conveyed. The blue-eyed star could be the singer on Goan stage for years and years to come if he continues to compose such rich songs, and maintains his image by steering clear of second-rate video albums.
Seby de Divar, another singing sensation from Goa, was an instant hit with the crowd for his appealing, rhythmic songs. The way he gelled with the audience in his 3 songs, and displayed a penchant to imitate (mimicry) different personalities in-between the songs, was well applauded.
The Dubai Trio comprising of Edwin D’Costa, Anthony and Manuxin rocked the audience with 2 nicely composed trios. Fabulous stage presence, attractive lyrics, commanding singing style, and the way they sang something different each time they were encored, proves the Dubai Trio is as good as any professional trio on Goan stage. They could be standout ‘hits’ anywhere in the world of Konkani dramas.
Mini Mario, who was brought from Goa, sang 2 fluent songs. But his old, common tunes and themes were too average to make a mark on the knowledgeable Kuwait audience.
Among the local artistes, Cajetan-de-Sanvordem and Michael D’Silva sang on ‘Churches of the Gulf’ with effortless ease and confidence. Katty de Navelim-Joseph Rodrigues-Jose Anthony sang a trio in memory of Kuwait based artistes late Sunny de Quepem and Rosary Ferns. Songs by Michael Lopes and Agnes Rodrigues about an estranged sister, and the Lopes Brothers singing on the woes of ‘local immigrants in Goa’, Laurent Pereira, Bab Agnel, Sylvester Vaz (solo), and specially Michael D’Silva and Sylvester Vaz, the latter dressed up as a female emulating late Goan artiste Christopher Leitao, were very good.
Agnelo Fernandes de Panchwadi sang a very nice song too. Also, there were songs by Anthony D’Silva, and a trio by John-Sucorro-Joaquim.
The opening chorus of ‘Aitar Budhvar’ was sung by Jeremiah Vaz – chic and flowing in style.
Music for the show was provided by Maestro Shahu Almeida supported by Tony on the drums, Rafio and Denis on guitars. Anand provided the sound system while the stage-sets were arranged by Thomas. Back-stage coordination for stage-setting was highly commendable which is attributed to the solitary efforts of Lawry M and Clara.
A colourful souvenir was released to mark the presentation of the drama. In his message, director Salu Faleiro thanked the sponsors and everyone who helped in realizing his long awaited dream of staging ‘Aitar-Budhvar’.
The above review is based on the opinion of different individuals. It is rare that the public sentiment decides immorally or unwisely, and the individual who differs from it ought to distrust and examine well his own opinion.