Aleixinho de Candolim would have been 99 on July 9, 2012 had he lived. His hundredth birth anniversary will be celebrated next year. This great artiste of Konkani tiatr stage deserves recognition for his valuable contribution towards the development of Tiatr, its song and music.
The tiatr fraternity must come together to celebrate the Birth Centenary of this great artiste. I feel it is the responsibility of the Tiatr Academy of Goa, too, to honour late Aleixinho de Candolim by organising programmes specially dedicated to him
By Tomazinho Cardozo
The village of Candolim is blessed with numerous personalities who have contributed immensely towards social development. In the history of the village of Candolim one finds persons who have done yeomen service in different fields - historical, scientific, literary and cultural. Historically, the first revolt against the Portuguese rule in Goa was planned in the house of Fr Pinto at Candolim way back in 1787. It was called the Pintos Revolt and was the first against foreign domination in the entire country. In the field of science, the Father of Hypnotism, Fr Jose Custodio de Faria, popularly known as Abbe Faria, grew up in Candolim before leaving for Europe. In the literary field we have Prof Joaquim Antonio Fernandes who produced modern grammar for Konkani language at that time and in the cultural field the village of Candolim is proud of late Aleixinho de Candolim – a tiatr artiste par excellence.
Aleixinho de Candolim would have been 99 on July 9, 2012 had he lived. His hundredth birth anniversary will be celebrated next year. This great artiste of Konkani tiatr stage deserves recognition for his valuable contribution towards the development of Tiatr, its song and music. The tiatr fraternity must come together to celebrate the Birth Centenary of this great artiste. I feel it is the responsibility of the Tiatr Academy of Goa, too, to honour late Aleixinho de Candolim by organising programmes specially dedicated to him.
Aleixinho de Candolim showed keen interest in singing at a very young age. When he was schooling in the Parochial school (church school) at Candolim he used to participate in singing activities of the church – singing of religious hymns. He was very confident and had a melodious voice. Thus it was not difficult for young Aleixinho to sing Konkani songs. In the yearly school cultural programmes Aleixinho used to be the star. Because he was very impressive on stage, he was noticed by artistes of Candolim who used to stage tiatrs on the occasion of the village feast. Young Aleixinho was given an opportunity to sing one song. The song became a hit and the audience applauded Aleixinho’s style of singing. He was only 16 at that time. This gave added encouragement to young Aleixinho and he was invited to sing in tiatrs in neighbouring villages. By the time Aleixinho was 22, he had become very popular as an actor and a singer throughout Goa.
He scripted his first tiatr entitled ‘Putanchea Duddvanchi As Ani Avoyche Disgras’ in 1935. He composed all songs and staged the tiatr with the help of village boys. The tiatr was liked and the work of Aleixinho was well appreciated. Aleixinho established himself as a good writer and director too.
From then on Aleixinho wrote and directed several tiatrs and staged them not only in Candolim but in different parts of Goa. He introduced many new artistes from Candolim to the tiatr stage along with professional artistes.
During those days most grown up boys from Goa used to go to Mumbai for jobs. Aleixinho, too, travelled to Mumbai in 1939 in search of suitable employment. In those days Mumbai was the centre of Konkani tiatrs. Almost all popular tiatr artistes used to live in Mumbai because of employment.
Unlike present times, tiatrs from Mumbai were brought to Goa and staged for the benefit of Goan tiatr lovers. Aleixinho was quite confident of doing well in tiatrs in Mumbai if he could not get a suitable job. In Mumbai, Aleixinho started getting numerous offers to act in tiatrs. He mesmerised the Mumbai audience with his acting and singing. He started writing and directing his own tiatrs and proved himself as one of the best directors of that time.
In all Aleixinho de Candolim scripted, directed and staged 27 tiatrs. These were staged in Goa as well as in Mumbai. Some of his most popular tiatrs are ‘Mhatarponn’, ‘Goycho Posorkar’, ‘Amcho Pordes’, ‘Mhojo Ghov Basurkar’, ‘To Bavtto Dhormancho’, ‘Ram Ram Baoji’, ‘Sonvsarant Konn Konnacho’, ‘Omtea Kollxear Udok’ and ‘Amchea Xetachi Pavnni’. Most of his tiatrs were based on social issues existing at that time in the Goan society.
I remember witnessing his last tiatr ‘Amchea Xetachi Pavnni’ that was staged in April 1961 at Candolim. As he was always introducing new faces on the tiatr stage he had requested my brother - Joao Cardozo - to sing two songs in the said tiatr.
Hence, I had the opportunity of witnessing rehearsals also. It was the Portuguese era and to criticise ‘bhatkars’ of that time was practically impossible. ‘Mundkars’ could not raise their heads in front of the ‘bhatkars’. Under these circumstances, Aleixinho de Candolim staged ‘Amchea Xetachi Pavnni’, which exposed the exploitation of ‘mundkars’ at the hands of ‘bhatkars’. ‘Bhatkars’ were very powerful during the Portuguese era but Aleixinho had the courage of conviction to challenge them and demand justice for the ‘mundkars.’
He loved the village of his birth – Candolim. He was proud of his village. It is for this reason that he added the name of his village to his original name to make it ‘Aleixinho de Candolim.’ During that time, as Aleixinho went of becoming more and more popular on the tiatr stage, along with him Candolim too became a household name.
This great artiste expired on July 16, 1963. He was just 50 years at the time of his death. He would have created wonders on tiatr stage if he was not snatched away from us at such a young age.
This legend of tiatr stage has not left any stone unturned for the cause of promotion and preservation of tiatr, its song and music. He has sacrificed his time, energy and money for the betterment of tiatr art. Although a great artiste, his contribution was never recognised by any agencies of that time. Hence, I feel, it is our duty to celebrate the birth centenary of Aleixinho de Candolim and pay our respects to this great artiste of tiatr stage.