For Francisco Fernandes making an entry on the tiatr stage has always been a dream. In this chat with NT BUZZ he talks about how he has grown as an actor and a singer through his journey
SACHI NAIK | NT BUZZ
When he was in class five, Francisco Fernandes participated in a state-level skit and won the Best Actor award for it. And thus a dream was born. After this there were a list of skit performances and plays, especially during the Christmas week in his village of Uttorda that Francisco continued to actively participate in. It was on the stage of one such skit that Jose Fernandes saw him and offered him a role in his Kala Academy Competition Tiatr, thus Francisco, got his first break with the competition tiatr ‘Naav’ in 2013.
A positive aspect about competition tiatrs, he says, is the introduction of new talent, “it gives youngsters an opportunity and a platform to perform,” he says.
Following his success in the debut performance, Francisco was soon offered his first project in commercial tiatr that same year with director Menino Mario’s ‘Faleam Ravonaka’.
Though he began acting with supporting roles, Francisco was then offered lead roles with many directors taking note of his skills. Director Mario Menezes after seeing him act quickly made Francisco a member of his troupe, something Francisco considers an honour. Francisco has worked in about 25 tiatrs and is still counting.
It wasn’t an easy journey though. Since he did not have any godfathers in the industry, Francisco had to start from scratch, learning from his mistakes, making sure not to hurt the feelings of his co-actors or troupe members or interfere in anyone’s life.
Though he began his career as an actor Francisco was also encouraged to sing on stage. “Tiatr is a package that allows you to grow as an actor, a singer, a comedian and this motivates you to experiment. Some people are blessed with both the talents of acting and singing. When it comes to me, however, I never thought I could sing. With the directors’ encouragement, I decided to give it a shot,” he says. Every director he has worked with, he states, has taught him something new, and he has been lucky to have worked under good and supportive directors who pushed him to succeed.
Known for performing serious roles, Francisco likes to keep his doors open for all kinds of roles. His strength, he says, is that he can play the role of a hero and a villain with equal ease. “In the recent Easter tiatr directed by Mario Menezes, ‘Don Roste’, I had to play a character that had many shades. The character had a mix of both positive and negative qualities, and to perform it on stage was quite challenging. I managed to perform it as best as I could!” he says.
Some actors may prefer to do only positive roles in fear that the audience mistakes them for being villains in real life too, but Francisco ensures that he keeps his real and reel life separate. An actor has to focus on his character when he is on stage. At home, he doesn’t need to act but simply be his own self, he reasons. “You cannot eat rice and curry and biryani simultaneously; you will not enjoy either of them,” he explains.
Besides tiatrs, Francisco has also acted in a lead role in the remake of Konkani film ‘Nirmonn’. A qualified IT Engineer, he is currently teaching at a temporary position at Our Lady of Lourdes High School, Uttorda. He also anchors at weddings, birthday parties, functions, etc. He also has a great love for sports and has represented St Anthony’s High School, Majorda at State level in hockey from 2007 and 2010 winning gold and silver medals.
And while he hopes to continue teaching, he also strives to grow in tiatr. “I don’t know my destiny, and neither have I planned anything in particular for my future. I want to learn writing kaantaras though. Direction and writing comes with time and experience, and maybe when I have gained more experience, I can attempt these,” he says.