A household name in Goa today, actor, singer, tiatrist, playwright, producer, director and RJ, Miguel Jacob Carmo Luis Fernandes or Prince Jacob enjoys a wide fan following both in the state and abroad
Miguel Jacob Carmo Luis Fernandes or Prince Jacob as he is popularly known to his fans as is credited with infusing new life into Konkani theatre. An actor, singer, tiatrist, playwright, producer, director and RJ, Jacob enjoys a wide fan following especially in Mumbai, Dubai, UK, Australia and other countries where Goan expats live. His plays not just entertain but educate as well say his fans. To date he has written 69 tiatrs and for his contributions to tiatr he has been conferred many prestigious titles and awards.
Fame however did not come easy for this Fatorda-born artist, whose story is truly an inspiring tale of rags to riches and pauper to prince. “To achieve success,” he says, “one has to work hard and with sincerity.” This he says he learned from a young age when he had to give up his studies due to financial constraints. “After my SSC, I could not continue with my studies and had to take up a job as a fitter cum machinist. There were many challenges and for `80 a month I worked at a garage, welding and grinding.”
His tryst with tiatr came about in 1980 while still in school, when Rosario Dias ran short of a child artiste for his play ‘Chuk Havem Adharli’ and a friend from the locality recommended 13-year-old Jacob. “The audience immediately loved me. I was chubby and fair, with golden hair and a happy face,” he recalls. “After my first performance I knew exactly what I wanted to do and be.” However, it took some time after he quit school and began working at the garage, for his big break to come. “Things don’t happen overnight. Patience along with hard work are basic requirements for success,” he states.
Another essential to achieve fame especially in showbiz he says, is innovation and he strongly believes that learning should never stop. ”Every day is a new day to learn and grow. One is never too old to learn.” To keep his audience engaged, Jacob has to come up with innovative ideas. From learning the art of magic and illusions to involving the audience in script-writing, he has utilised all the tools at hand to ensure the audience always comes back for more. Highlighting the need for innovation, he illustrates with an example. “For a show scheduled at St Estevam, three of the key actors who lived in Savordem could not make it. The show could not be cancelled at the last minute and the audience could not be disappointed. I was left with no choice but to come up with a solution that would see me through. I used some of my other support staff who had always been present for rehearsals to take their place and the show went on,” he recalls. “In life too we have to find solutions. I believe that problems are sent to us, so that we can find ways to overcome them.”
In the face of adversary, one should not give up he believes and adds: “There will be many who will discourage you or may not stand by you in certain situations but if you believe in it and in your ability, then I say, go ahead. You may fail but at least you tried. And if you succeed, then there is nothing like it.” To support his statement, he gives an example of his play, ‘Roopneh’. “It was a translation of a Marathi play ‘Sahi re Sahi’ that so fascinated me that I knew I had to make a Konkani version. The tiatr fraternity at that time did not appreciate my venture and most doubted if it would run. However, I went ahead with it and today am happy I did so, because it was a hit.”
Find your passion and then work at it with zest and joy, he advises. To the youth, he calls out to look at the tiatr stage as a viable career option. “Most tiatrs are in the evenings so you can do a day job and still be a tiatrist,” he says. “However, remember it is not as easy as it looks but if you have the passion, no one can stop you!”