C Alvares: A stalwart of the tiatr stage

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Tomazinho Cardozo

During the last 128 years of its existence, tiatr has faced numerous challenges and overcome them due to the valuable contribution and sacrifices by some tiatr artistes. One of these artistes is late Celestino Alvares, popularly known as C Alvares on the tiatr stage.

Today (August 1) is the birth centenary of this great tiatrist who scripted and directed over 100 tiatrs, composed lyrics of over 1000 songs (kantaram) and acted the leading roles in thousands of tiatrs throughout his tiatr career spreading over seven decades.

C Alvares was a unique tiatrist not only because he excelled in varied aspects of tiatr like script writing, direction, acting, singing, composing lyrics, etc, but because he served tiatr with commitment and selflessness throughout his life.

Having stepped into tiatr at the young age of seven, he attracted the attention of the audience due to his inborn qualities in singing. He tasted success at a very tender age as he mesmerised the audience in his two maiden ‘kantaram’. “A star is born on the tiatr stage” remarked the audience.

In the 1940s, Goan youth used to migrate to Mumbai for better prospects and C Alvares too reached Mumbai in 1941. Being a talented singer, he hypnotised the Mumbai tiatr audience too and became a much sought-after artiste.

He scripted his first tiatr ‘Atam Zanvoim Hanv Tuzo’, directed and staged it in 1942. From then onwards he went on scripting over hundred tiatrs. This record has not been broken till date. Some of his tiatrs which can be considered as classics are: ‘Pisuddlolem Kalliz’, ‘Goencho Mog’, ‘Sonvsar Sudorlo Punn Monis Sudronk Nam’, ‘Tujech Dolle’, ‘Kednam Udetolo To Dis?’, ‘Sezari Kombo’, etc. His plays were always entertaining coupled with strong social messages due to which he became the darling of the tiatr-goers. He was rightly called “ace director” by tiatr lovers.

He was an excellent lyricist and composed innumerable songs some of which can be heard even today, thanks to All India Radio, Panaji. His lyrics were simple yet full of meaning and catchy rhymes. He rendered all types of songs such as solos, duets, duos, trios, quartets, etc, but duets were his forte and he was called ‘King of Duets’. He has composed numerous duets on social issues and sung them with leading tiatr stars. Some of his immortal duets are: ‘Bhoinn’, ‘Konventan Vetam’, ‘Kobai’, ‘Noxib Nam’, ‘Figur Haddlam Putam’, ‘Jawan’, etc.

C Alvares has also contributed immensely to the promotion and development of Konkani films. As a hero in the lead roles he captivated Konkani film lovers in classic Konkani films such as ‘Amchem Noxib’, ‘Nirmonn’, ‘Mhoji Ghorkarn’ and ‘Bhuierantlo Monis’. Most of the song lyrics in these films were also composed by him.

My request to the village panchayat of Saligao, MLA of Saligao Constituency, and the Government of Goa, is to honour late C Alvares by naming the main cross roads junction at Saligao after him during the birth centenary year.