‘A Tiatrist with the Golden Voice’ does not need a formal introduction because every nook and corner of Goa knows him for his melodious voice and his contemporary works in the Tiatr Industry. The most down to earth person modestly brushes off the praise. Menino Mario, a simpleton yet a renowned Tiatrist from Colva was born and raised in a Tiatr family. Being a kid Mario would often listen to his father singing and would sing whatever song he sang. At a tender age, he started acting in Tiatrs gaining popularity and fame along the way.
He recollects memories from his childhood about how he and some of his village friends would get together, gather sheets and make a stage for a Tiatr. Rosary Fern a Tiatrist himself would gather all the children and train them for three months to present it in front of the village on the feast day. “The Tiatr was shown on the feast day in the month of May. We used coconut shells as microphones” he laughs remembering his first Tiatr as a kid in 1981.
Mario is a singer with an abundance of talent, he likes to pen and compose his own songs. He says that in school he used to pen down songs and sing for school functions and gatherings. But unfortunately, he had to drop out of school to pursue his acting and singing career as his parents could not afford to spend money on his school.
Seeing the budding talent, A.M Pacheco a native from that same village, gave Mario his first debut Tiatr ‘Dhag’ He acted and sang for many Tiatrist like for Rosario Rodrigues, Prince Jacob John D’silva and Premanand Lotlikar. Working in the tiatr industry he got to roam many places across Goa and London and Gulf countries.
He made his mark in the hearts of the people over time. He started his own production where he introduced new faces every time he made a Tiatr. He wrote 9-10 songs for his Tiatrs and composed his own music. His big shot Tiatr came in 2017 “Kiteak Ho Bazaar Cholta”, a Tiatr showcasing the life of vulnerable women going into prostitution, or who are being forced into it. The critically acclaimed Tiatr went on successfully all over Goa and also abroad for its contemporary content. Adding to the point he said that while the making was going on, his cast was rather sceptical about the script as it had an adult (not vulgar) talks and dialogues. But when it released, it went hit for months.
In his opinion, he says that having produced 2-3 Tiatrs a year and getting the money to pay the dues is equal to not making one at all. “Once you are liked by the audience, you should make crisp content that is loved by them but that will happen when you focus on one work at a time. Directors nowadays focus on 2-3 Tiatrs and tend to lose their creativity in the rat race to generate revenue. When you can make a good Tiatr that goes on for months, it will automatically accumulate the money you invested” he said. He also said that Tiatrist should regularly have workshops where they learn new developments in the world of Tiatr.
“The variety and creativity are in short supply in today’s world. Some Tiatr will have all solo performances. A good Tiatr will have all solo, a duet and a trio performance. It is not good when people are unhappy with our work because they make time and come to show love. Indeed the time they take for us is priceless even when they get entertainment for free, anytime, at home, on phones and TV. “We have to be different from the usual content, different from what public usually sees”, he said.
Being a Tiatrist is not easy when you have to look after your family. He reminiscences his earlier days as a tiatrist, “I used be distressed because God put in me such a situation.
Being a school dropout I had to struggle because I knew everything and anything of Tiatr but it didn’t help me learn other things which I could do in future” he confessed looking back at times. “But God had other plans for me. He knew this was the right place for me and so I decided to build my own world with Tiatr”. Hence fate brought him to become a Tiatrist that he is now today.
Speaking about the current scenario he says that there a lot of things the young generation can do given the resources. He says “During our days we were not that fortunate as the generation now is. The resources are infinite but you have to know how to make use of it. He observed that the young generation now would rather prefer to stay at home than come for Tiatr.
According to him the directors now should change the old cat-and-mouse fight between the in-laws and wives and begin something new. “The youth have no interest in Tiatr, but given no choice, they come and bury their heads over the phones. If this continues then the Tiatr industry will die in the coming years. The youth should take of the culture and take it forward; if they want they can do anything, just a click of the button and it’s done”.
The directors need to get new and innovative topics which will interest the young crowd and not some grandmother-grandfather story. If we start doing something new that then we will definitely see the young crowd coming. For example, a drunkard is always portrayed as a comedian for centuries now, but we should look into other dimensions like anyone in a coat and suit can also be a comedian. Having experience with the young crowd himself, he believes drawing more youngsters to Tiatr industry will help keep the industry alive.
Talking about the newcomers entering into the industry he expresses his dismay over the behaviour of the youth nowadays “In our days we used to respect our directors and listen to whatever they said. But now the youngsters do what they want. They argue with the directors which are ethically not right. As an artist myself I still respect by fellow senior artists. An artist should never have pride, your success and failure are indirectly related to the crowd’s response to your work”.
Besides Tiatr he says he hasn’t learnt anything because his entire life has been about Tiatr and Tiatrist. “Tiatr is in my family and blood, it is my bread and butter, I could not let go of Tiatr neither it would leave my back. Our village is one such place which has produced popular Tiatrist over the years. My friends, family speak Tiatr every time we meet. My audience is simple like me; I make Tiatr for the locals to enjoy. Their feedback is important for the show to go.
However, he admits and regrets not having been able to complete his formal education which comes to him as a nightmare every night. There were so many things he would want to do given the chance. If at all had he not been a Tiatrist, he would love to become a tailor or a mechanic but his father refused him to go out of family business.
To make a good Tiatr one should consult the fellow directors to get suggestions and advice to improvise the idea. He said that personally, he and his friends sit together and discuss the topic to see if the message is sent across or understandable. “Once the Tiatr / movie is released we can’t do anything that is why I want it to be corrected during the pre-production time”. He personally encourages taking ideas of the youth and children because you have got to look from all the perspectives.
Mario is now working on his post-production movie ‘Dirty Games’ which is based on a political drama. Looking back, he concludes that the Tiatr was not handled by some qualified people or businessmen. “We are commoners from a village. For centuries commoners like me have taken care of the industry; even though they copied each other’s work, they knew how to keep the Tiatr going”. Mario hopes to see the same spirit in the young generation who will be heading the coming century. With the upcoming show of CID his latest Tiatr, his production will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the production.