John D’Silva: Goa’s prodigal son has returned and has created a special place in the heart of Tiatr fans across the state. He has dedicated his life to Tiatr and acting. Let’s read about him, his acting with ‘perfect timings’ and talent.
John, from San Jose de Alya, Salcete, Goa participated with enthusiasm in cultural activities such as annual gatherings and concerts as a child. His main inspiration and motivation behind this was his father: a multi-talented person as he too was a Tiatrist, dramatist & a singer. He sang ‘katara’ during the festive season and would often travel to different villages to do so. His stage-name was C. Silvano and this is where John’s acting talent came into reality.
Mr. John got a chance to showcase his writing talent by writing a play with local youths recruited to act. In the year 1982-83, the next project taken by John was a one-act play called “Yugar”. Again, he used local talent to act in his play to ensure it was home-grown. No doubt people admired and appreciated this. This one-act play concept became so popular that they got first place at Chandor, Ambeli, and Asolna, Sarjora Third, Nuvem second. While asked about this, John says, “We even saw a demand for it to be performed at many places.”
John then went to Doha, Qatar in 1987, something we refer to as recess! He started working there as a clerk and after 2 years he returned. The colorful film industry was waiting to welcome him back!
Talking about this new phase of his life John says, “That was the time when I did my first professional Tiatr in Sept 1991 called “Chuklele Raste”. When I observed that people like my Tiatr, I started doing video filming, so as it was going well, I never again thought of going back to Gulf” and he was reconnected with his passion.
Many people face problems in choosing a career and John said that even though he knew he had inherited his father’s talent in acting, as with many other youths, he wanted to make some money and the Gulf was where he could do just that.
After “Chuklele Raste” which was produced, written and directed by him, every year he added another Tiatr to his name. In 1992 he did “Chitrayllelo Fator”, in1993 “Sheet liplele Ropkar” and in 1994 “Pooja”.
In 1995, he ventured into movies and the first was a film called ‘Shen.’ He had 40 tiatr appearances to his credit for which he is extremely proud. “I would like to mention when I completed writing 25 productions, I was featured in the Limca Book of World Records 2010 for writing 25 tiatr Konkani musical dramas and for doing tiatr with double alphabets in its title, for example, Vell, Denne, Ekvott, Vatt, Humanne, Sakkali, Magnne, Bovall, Kirnna, Ugdass, Jinn, Devaspann, Goekarpann”. It’s interesting and fascinating to hear him say the names of all his 40 tiatr in one breath.
When he was asked about the competition he faced from other tiatrist at the time of his entry into this field he said, “people were not much into this that time so the competition was not too tough. I worked with people like Ruza Rodrigues. If the show does well in villages, only then did we face competition, like that time we had major village audiences. Their response used to decide the greatness of our tiatr.”
Moving on to his movie life, his first film was “Padri” and the story was based on an adaptation of Tiatr, Prince Jacob… While talking about this movie, John speaks of Prince Jacobs’ greatness as he had created a special role for John and that’s how he became a part of it.
Then offers for movies kept on coming and he signed his first feature film with Rajendra Talak, “O Maria”. Then it was his movie with Swapnil Shetkar “Surfing” and later one more movie called “Ujwaad” which was made by him. After that came the blockbuster ‘Nachom-ia Kumpasar’ and ‘Home Sweet Home Part 1’ where people loved his character. Then ‘Nirmon’ and ‘Home Sweet Home Part 2’ where he got his real fan following.
When asked which films gave him the most recognition, John says, “I think it’s Home Sweet Home Part 1 & 2 and Nachom-ia Kumpasar.”.
When asked what he finds easier, movies or Tiatr, he said, “Movies. When you do Tiatr the expressions on a person’s face are important, but not as much as in the movies. In the movies, every expression counts. Actors need to show their emotions and expressions throughout. One can make out the expressions in close up. Sometimes in movies, a scene can go a few minutes without any dialogues; through your silence, you can convey your message to the audience”.
This is how according to him movie gives him more chance to express the feeling of the character and that’s how he feels he can give more justice to that particular character he is performing.
Every movie or Tiatr John has performed in, are all perfect. We can say he has got that perfect talent and timing into him which makes people want to watch him until the end. The actor creates a connection in the minds of their audience.
Actors performing tiatr must be loud and their voices much carry. Explaining how a perfectionist manages his timing so well, he says, “Actually I am not too loud on stage. Only for certain parts where the aggression is demanded, I show it with my voice and acting. In movies, it’s not important to be loud as the person watching a movie sitting in the first row will hear the same as the person on the back row.”
John says he used to like watching Al Pacino and Robert De Niro movies from which he learned a great deal.
At the moment, he is not trying for Bollywood as his current projects of tiatr and movies are keeping him busy. He has his yearly plan with tiatr, which is scheduled according to festivals.
Looking at his busy schedule, we asked how he manages everything, “Basically, tiatr is my priority. Tiatr is mostly in the evenings and film shooting is not usually in the evening, so I can manage both. Mostly they don’t clash.”
Surprised though to know that tiatr is his priority when asked the future for tiatr, he knows it better than whatever was there yesterday is not there today and what is there today won’t be there tomorrow. When he spoke about it, we found even he has that fear of keeping tiatr alive. He said, “We need to take tiatr to some high level as we can see now people watch Konkani movies as we have given it that level so that people should watch. This has created the situation now that people have stopped watching tiatr and have moved to films, so there is a need to give people that high level of content so that people will start and like watching it.”
On this topic of keeping tiatr alive; he did one more tiatr called ‘Kadu’ which was related to that topic. ‘Kadu’ presented the tiatr on stage and one more tiatr into it was portrayed. So, the concept of tiatr was accepted by the people. It did well and became popular.
So now we are quite familiar with. John who is an actor, director, and producer. When he was asked what he is most comfortable with, he said, “I am more comfortable as an actor and till now I got good directors like Swapnil Shetkar, Bardroy, Jitendra Shikerkar, Shripad Pai, Rajendra Talak. They know how to extract talent from me, as they are in front of me. But when I’m a director, I still need someone beside me to take out my talent. So in that sense, I am better as an actor.”
John will be starring in the upcoming “Tiffin Box” and a Mangalorean Konkani film “Ak Aslyar Ak Na”. He also has “Martin” by Jitendra Shikerkar coming up, in which he has a special appearance in it. “Deavache Planning” directed by Rajesh Fernandes will also be coming soon. He says he has completed “Tiffin Box but with the rest of his films, he’s quite busy. The Incredible Goa team wishes him good luck with his upcoming movies and we are sure he will make people laugh and cry with his heartfelt performances.