Prince Jacob is the household name in Goa. I wonder if there exists any Goan who has not heard about Prince and his contributions towards the Tiatr industry of Goa. I am talking about the time when Tiatr (The Konkani Theatre) was the only entertainment that Goans had in the 80’s when even the television has not reached into this tiny state. In those days Prince was ruling the industry of Tiatr in Goa. I recollect of hearing the success stories of Prince since 1984 when I was in the school. Here I am going to take you through the journey of the life of prince that he lived on the and off the stage.
Here I am about to narrate the story of Prince, the most humble and down to earth celebrity I have ever met. In this story, you will get to know more about him and his journey of success and failure while fighting with all the odds of the life. No person achieves the success in life without going through the hardship of life and Prince is not the exception to this case. According to Prince his journey to stage started at the age of 13, the time of age when most of us may not even dare to speak before the audience he used to amuse hundreds of people with his elocution qualities.
“I started acting at the age of 13,” said prince adding “It was my first experience as a child artist. As an actor, director and producer I have completed almost 40 years in this industry,” he narrated. Prince is so much down to earth and humble that despite reining the Tiatr industry of Goa for more than three decades he still feels that he is in the process of learning. “According to me I am always in the process of learning and I believe that one can learn till his last breath,” he added. According to him, one dies but learning process never ends.
According to Prince, his journey of learning started right from the school days. “I was encouraged by my school principal and teachers. They saw the talent of Elocution in me. I remember we had a teacher by name Fatima Rebello and she used to take me for every single elocution competition in Goa. According to me ‘if you give a bone to the dog he will never desert same way if you give a mike to an artist he will never give it up,” said Prince. He gives all the credit to himself for being an Orator to his teachers.
Prince had that charisma right from the young age. He was capable of getting the attention of the crowd and keep them nailed onto their seats. This magic later made him the prince of millions of hearts in Goa. It was his teachers who helped him to reach this stage and he is always grateful to them for that. He recollected the event wherein his principal told him that if he does not perform on the occasion of Parents’ day then there won’t be a celebration of parent’s day in the school. It was such a huge compliment for Prince at that tender age. Prince was the 1st Oratory boy in Don Bosco, Fatorda “There I was given a chance to show my oratory skills,” he said.
When I asked the Prince name of a person who gave him the first chance to perform on the stage drama he said “His name was Milagres, an actor, at that time his team was searching for a child artist and he had suggested my name and the name of my first Tiatr was ‘CHUK HAVENS ADDARLE’, he narrated. After that play, the journey of Prince began which is going on till date. Afterward his brother Humbert, better known as “Comedian Humbert” came into the Tiatr industry. He along with his brother formed a company and they performed together for 31 years. “Comedian Humbert is my brother, he is an actor but later he went abroad for employment purpose but after 8 years he returned back to our motherland and then I decided and spoke to him and we formed the company,” he said.
When I asked Prince as why people leave their land and go abroad when they can peruse their dreams in their own land he said that “No one wants to leave their birthplace and go abroad but they cannot help since we do not have enough opportunities here. There are no job and not enough opportunities in the state. Let me tell you one thing here, all those thousands of Goans who went aboard to work brought a lot of revenue to our state,” he said. According to Prince, it is a bitter truth that there are no enough opportunities in our state. “I made my drama group and I became successful but what about those hundreds of artists who did not turn out to be successful at the end? They have lost hundreds of thousands of rupees in this industry and finally, they decided to leave the country and go abroad with the help of their Portuguese passports. They worked hard there and came back with the bag full of money,” he narrated.
According to Prince, his brother came back from overseas and they formed the company in the year 1985. “This year I am completing 31 years of my production. The first time we came together in a Tiatr called “PINZER” (the cage). It was comedy drama and it was the first time I experimented with ‘Comedy of Errors’ in which my brother played the double of me. Since we both look alike it was a very successful experiment,” he said.
Prince Jacob has achieved a tremendous amount of name and fame in this industry but the success did not come easily to him. People may feel that life is very easy when someone reaches to that stage which prince achieved in the Tiatr industry but it is not. According Prince he has 25 hours in a day, “When I tell this to others they ask me, Jacob, how you manage to do that and I tell them that I wake up at 5 am every morning regardless of what time I go to the bed. I have the ‘live radio show’ that starts at 7 am and finishes at 10 am from there I go for my drama rehearsals and film shooting,” he said.
According to Prince, he manages his time in the best possible way and due to that he can give time to his work and family in the proper manner. “Sometimes my colleagues take lessons of ‘Time Management’ from me. According to me if you love your job the time can never be the constraint. Sometimes I finish my Tiatr at 4 am but I get ready at 5 and back to the studio at 7 am because I have to wake the people in the morning and that is what my job is all about at the Radio,” he added. Prince started with the Radio Big FM almost ten years back when they started their operation in Goa. “I was in contract with them for three years but now I am completing almost 10 years,” he said.
Prince got his first role in the Konkani movie “Alisha” produced and directed by renowned producer and director of Goa Rajendra Talak. “It was the small role in that movie but I don’t look into the length of role but I see the depth of it. Even my role in Noachom-ia Kumpasar was very small but it was striking. When they send the clips for the competition they send mine for sure,” he said.
According to Prince, he has completed around 62 Tiatr and performed in more than 5000 shows and now he feels that it’s high time that he should do something different. “I have done more than 5000 shows and written 62 dramas and I feel that it’s high time that I should do something different. I am in a process of bringing the Tiatr “Padre” which I made a Konkani film that has achieved tremendous success with 315 shows with running in the theaters for more than 6 months. Now I will bring the drama back with 10 shows in Bombay and about 15-20 shows in Goa so that no one can break my records,” he said.
Prince also feels that the Konkani films are making comeback and it has the bright future since the benchmark for same is already set by the movie Nachom-ia Kumpasar directed by Bardroy Baretto. “Goan producers are now making some good movies and all the credit goes to Nachom-ia Kumpasar,” He said.
Prince said that first time he did the negative role in the movie MMS and that was the real challenge since he was famous as a comedian and taking up the negative role was not an easy task. “As an actor, I am open for all sorts of roles and my negative role in MMS made a mark in the audience. One day someone from the audience came to me and said ‘Jacob I came to see the film to find out what a comedian doing with the gun in hand as we never expected the comedian to do such kind of role’. But finally my role was well appreciated by the audience and that was a reward,” he said.
Prince has also acted in Marathi dramas one such incident he recollects whereby he acted in a Marathi play called Sahi-re-Sahi in which there were four roles of a protagonist. Prince made the similar drama in Konkani and played all four roles on the stage. “It was the big challenge and people appreciated by work a lot in that. Many people still ask me why I do not bring the drama again but it is not that easy since I need to buy the rights of the same. I remember the incident while I was doing the show in Margao one person from the audience sitting very close the stage was saying, ‘this is Jacob and that is also Jacob my god how many Jacobs’, this kind of incidents gives me the confidence to do more such experiments,” he said.
According to Jacob, he got many accolades for his efforts of performing four roles alone that too in the same show. “People who have seen my shows in Bombay also told me that ‘Jacob your show were far better than that of the original drama’. But there were some negative feedbacks too, which I had to face while doing the same shows in Goa. I heard some people saying that ‘Jacob is out of ideas’, that was little hurting but didn’t care what they said, I still prefer to experiment with such things more,” he added. Prince also has the plans of doing Shakespeare in Konkani and that is the next big challenge he is looking forward to. “I am very flexible and I like to take challenges. If someone tells me that certain thing is not possible I tell them that I can do it,” he said with complete confidence.
According to Prince, the theatre is far better than the films. He feels that as an artist, one has to be educated in theater and films as well. “To learn you need to watch and learn from it. I suggest that newcomers and aspirants should attend workshops related to acting. I myself still attend workshops. People ask me ‘Prince you are so talented why you need the workshop?’ and always tell that I am still in learning process and it is never ending,” he narrated.
Prince feels that Goan audience likes the ‘live entertainment’ and theater is here to stay. “This year Tiatr is completing 125 years of its successful journey in Goa. It is not a joke to survive for 125 years without any financial help from any government bodies. The Tiatr survived only because of its loyal audience and their loyalty continues till date,” said Prince adding that “Earlier we used to have 2 dramas produced per year now that has gone up to 4 dramas annually. This is the positive sign of 100% increase in the production. It has become possible entirely due to the demand from the Goan audience. Our audience likes live entertainment.”
When I asked Prince if the demand for Tiatr is more from South Goa than from the North he said that “The demand is there from all over Goa but in the north there are no good auditoriums let’s take the example of Mapusa auditorium, it is in pathetic condition which does not have the proper sitting arrangements and no air-conditioning, how one can perform in such conditions and even audience does not want to come there. If people are not coming what the use of putting up the show? ” he asked.
According to Prince the movie production is much more expensive affairs than that of making a stage play, he said that the play can be produced within Rs. 2 Lakh while movie needs lakhs of rupees but then he was missing out on the one point that is the recurring cost of the drama and consistency of the artists that changes with time. “Producing a movie costs lakhs of rupees while producing a drama is within 2 lakhs. Now I’m performing every year twice I go to Bombay Maharashtra to perform I have got 15 shows and all 15 shows are houseful I perform in Puna too,” he said.
Prince also feels that there is a lack of professionalism level in the artists in Goa’s film industry and that is the reason in the movie like Nachom-is Kumpasar the lead actors were not Goans. “Goa still does not have the caliber artists from the films and there is a long way to go,” he nodded.
Prince feels that more people need to join the Tiatr industry and there is a good earning in this field. “I always tell people if you have talent come ahead and join this industry, even girls should not be left behind because in Tiatr you can earn anywhere between 25 to 30 thousand rupees easily, provided you have to be serious about your work,” he said.
Prince is always ready to give an opportunity to newcomers. According to him, the new faces are the need of the day. “It does not matter if they learn from you and go elsewhere. I feel that I have done the contribution to this society by providing the opportunities to many newcomers. I always tell artist one thing which I am going to tell all the readers here ‘NEVER RUN AFTER THE MONEY, LET MONEY RUN AFTER YOU’ I never went after money in my entire career it is always that money came after me. When looking at your job, you as a person, you as a friend, be truthful to your job, never cheat your audience this is my mantra,” he concluded with these words.
Prince is the most humble and talented personality Goa has seen and he is one of the personalities who left their deep marks in the Tiatr industry of Goa. Whenever the history of the Tiatr would be written it cannot complete without the major regard to Prince Jacob.