Tiatr is a popular form of theatre in Goa which is known for its humour and kaantaras. The trend of having shows outside Goa began decades ago when Goans based outside Goa decided to organise tiatr outside the state. NT BUZZ speaks to some of the tiatrists who reveal about the hardships taken by organisers to arrange for tiatr shows outside Goa, and how this gesture helps in keeping Konkani alive
SACHI NAIK | NT BUZZ
With the completion of 125 years of tiatr, it is obvious to note the popularity of tiatr in Goa. Surprisingly, they are equally recognised outside Goa. Tiatrists often organise their tiatr shows in different states among Konkani speaking community, as well as abroad which is only made possible by Goans who are settled there. This form of theatre has kept Konkani language alive not only in Goa, but at different places where Konkani speaking community exist. Here is what tiatrists have to say about tiatrs being held outside Goa and the efforts taken by organisers.
I appreciate the hardships taken by Goans settled in different states and countries outside Goa. We know how difficult it is to book the auditoriums in advance in Goa, and at places like Mumbai or abroad it is a headache to book auditoriums, as well as to confirm the visa and tickets of tiatr troupe that have invited.
It is because of these Goans that other countries get to know our culture and how popular this theatre form is in Goa. These organisers invite their family, neighbours, friends and Goan acquaintances settled there to watch tiatr. In a way, they are promoting tiatr and they are keeping Konkani language alive in their respective places.
Goan audience, who watch tiatr abroad or outside Goa do not get to see tiatrs on regular basis like the audience in Goa. They do not miss the shows as they get to see tiatr once in a blue moon in the foreign place. Moreover, tiatrs unite Goans. After years, they have conversations in Konkani and they cherish the Goan memories in their conversations. We can say tiatr is also a reason to unite them.
I always release my tiatrs in Pune, and then have shows in Mumbai before Goa. This is because Goans who stay there get to see my tiatr there. As per my experience, they watch these tiatrs in Goa and when we have shows in Maharashtra, they have already seen it and then they do not have any entertainment there.
– Prince Jacob, Director of ‘Aao Ja-o Goa Tumhara’
My tiatrs have given me an opportunity to travel around the world. My first tour to Dubai and Qatar was in my neighbour Lino’s drama ‘Dhorm’ in 1988. My first directorial drama, ‘Vell’ toured the Gulf countries of Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and Dubai in the year 1996. In 2005 my drama ‘Nattok’ was released in London and Germany and thereafter, it was shown throughout Goa. I travelled to America, Canada, Germany, France and London. This year I will be travelling to London for the third time.
Goans settled abroad organise these drama tours and they are making tiatr popular throughout the world. Thanks and hats off to them for organising these tiatrs in foreign countries. It’s their love for Goa, Konkani stage and Konkani language.
When we perform in foreign countries, after the show, Goans make time for us and take us for sightseeing. They give us their best of hospitality, love and affection. Sometimes they organise special parties for us and this makes us feel that we are in Goa. And that is the spirit of our Goemkarponn.
Whether I perform in Goa or abroad I always feel like I’m still in Goa because even the audience abroad enjoy our performances, just like how Goans enjoy in Goa. And this shows that whether a Goan is in Goa or not, he is always a Goemkar at heart. I enjoy performing at both the places, in Goa as well as in outside Goa, because after all, my audiences are my Goans.”
– John D’Silva, Director of ‘Saibin’
I have been to places like Pune, Mumbai, Kanyakumari and Mangalore in India, while Kuwait, Dubai, Qatar, United Kingdom (UK) abroad because of tiatrs. I was either invited as a special invitee or with the troupe. As a director, I went on to take my tiatr at Mangalore and indeed it was a beautiful experience.
Organisers do all the expenses. They look after auditorium booking, publicity, our visa documents, our airfare and accommodation, etc. It is because of those Goans outside Goa who take us there on their expense that tiatr is recognised globally. They get sponsors and take a lot of hardships to book auditoriums. In India, you need to book auditoriums six months prior but abroad it has to be booked a year in advance.
It is a privilege that we have this talent as an actor or a singer to work in a tiatr. There are some tiatrists who do a salaried job or a business, whereas there are some who only earn their living through tiatr. To my experience, those tiatrists who are doing a job or business will not be able to visit so many countries merely with their salary that they are doing with their talent.
Co-incidentally my father would always recommend me to work in any of the Gulf countries, and I decided to stay here and get into tiatr which ultimately made me visit some Gulf countries.
Financially, it is profitable for tiatrists, especially if they are invited as a special invitee. Every artist has their own rates in theatre field, which depends on their popularity and talent. Most of the times, they prefer to invite popular artists because, here Goans get to see every tiatr and every artist, but abroad they do not have choices.
I prefer to perform in Goa because of time and place factor. When I am abroad, the experiences collected are good but I get homesick and miss my family.”
– Rosario de Benaulim, Director of ‘Amontronn’
I began as a director in 1980 and took my first tiatr abroad in 1986. Goans who stay abroad, or even in other states in our country, miss Goa and its culture. Hence, they invite any of their favourite tiatrists to where they are based at that moment to relish the Goan way of entertainment.
When the shows are held out of Goa, they get as houseful as when they are held in Goan auditoriums. Mangaloreans also attempt to see tiatrs as they know Konkani and tiatrs are entertaining. They do not get to see tiatr on regular basis which is the reason behind the shows getting houseful outside Goa.
Most of the times, tiatrs are held on weekends Saturday and Sunday in places like Mumbai, Pune, and abroad at places like UK, Germany etc. However, in Gulf countries like Dubai, Qatar, Kuwait, etc they are mostly held on Thursday and Friday as they are considered weekends in these countries. Timings are same as in Goa, 3.30 pm and 7.30 pm.
To my experience, we do not profit a lot when we travel outside Goa for our shows, but we get to see a new place and get a new audience. Audience outside Goa are always enthusiastic and excited compared to audience in Goa as they hardly get to see the tiatrs there. Goans here are used to tiatrs, but they rarely find their culture in foreign countries which makes them patriotic. Sometimes, there are foreigners too that join as audience to know Goan culture.
– Roseferns, Director of ‘Pausa Pausa Yo Re Yo’