Joao Baptista Crasto from Davondem, Margao never bothered too much about performing for programmes back in school. Instead he was more comfortable displaying his acting and singing talent for Christmas skits or music shows organised by the chapel in his parish, having begun at the tender age of eight.
And it was during a performance for a Lenten play by C Miranda, titled ‘Devachem Utor’ (which was later released on DVD), that he was spotted by late writer-director Inacio de Canacona, who introduced him to the professional Konkani stage in ‘Mhaka Tuji Goroz Na’. This was followed by ‘He Goenche Put’ and ‘Devachem Utor. After that offers kept on coming and since then he has acted for various directors over the span of 19 years. ‘Xikxea’ by veteran C D’Silva, ‘Mogan Fulam Ragan Kantte’ by Jose de Benaulim, ‘Kiteak Ti axea’ by Constantino Crasto and the tiatr that created waves ‘Akantvadi Goeant Naka’ by Tousif de Navelim are some of these shows. He has also acted for Ligorio Fernandes for eight consecutive Lenten seasons and now continues with the same group which is led by John Miranda.
His own tiatr ‘Bhie-at Devak’ was staged in his village and the neighbouring ones. He now plays a role of a dynamic reporter in the latest political drama titled ‘Munis Munxeacho Bazaar’ by AB Luis.
Besides this he also performs for traditional folk plays during Carnival. “I have acted in ‘khell tiatr’ by Rodson de Benaulim for the last 15 years. The practices begin before Carnival each year and we have a hectic schedule for these plays, beginning from Saturday and ending only on the subsequent Tuesday night,” he says. During those four days, the various artistes with various shows perform in many villages and corners. “The three one hour plays are performed at least four times in a day,” he says.
Crasto has also acted in various video films. Beginning with a minor role in P Agnelo’s ‘Khuris Jivitachi Vatt’, he went on to act for ‘Bail Nhoim Paianchi Vann’ by Jenny de Germany and ‘Axirvad Devacho’ as well as the film dedicated to St Joseph Vaz, titled ‘Paulam’ both by Agnelo Fernandes.
But although he has been in the acting field for quite awhile now, Baptista feels he still has a lot to learn about acting and performing. “No one can be perfect in this art. Learning is an ongoing process and we actors have to be particular as to how we portray the character. I thank and praise God for this talent and the audience, for their support,” he says. And for the new entrants on stage he advises: “Be humble and try to learn from seniors and directors. Whenever some senior actor suggests a change in the act, think about it, before ignoring the suggestion or getting upset.”
Crasto further discloses that there are youngsters who think they can put up their price, even if they have been in two hits. “Hits don’t happen because of one or two actors, it requires teamwork,” says the actor who is married to Nefa and has three daughters. “My children show a tendency to act but are still small. So far I don’t have any plans to introduce them on stage,” he says.