Konkani Tiatr is a folk theatre which holds a mirror up to society and shows reflections of real people and the real issues they encounter in their daily lives. For decades, Tiatr writers and directors have been highlighting the ills plaguing society.
Taking a hot social issue and blending it into a plot with fair measures of romance, harsh injustice, sensational plot twists, sudden illnesses, shocking deaths, bawdy comedy routines, crime and retribution, and about 15 songs, have been the hallmarks of a Tiatr.
“Mahanand Monis Vo Soitan ?” (Mahanand, human being or devil) written and directed by Tony Dias is continuing the rich tradition. The director is trying to cash on the notoriety of the hot social issue which has rocked Goa last year. The Tiatr revolves around the alleged serial killer Mahanand Naik, who was initially charged with 16 murders of young girls, in the age-group of 25 to 35, committed from 1995 to 2008.
He now stands acquitted in one of them. Naik was recently acquitted by the Session court of South Goa District, of one of the murders, but stands charged for another 15.
Hailing from the temple town of Ponda he has been duped a “Dupatta killer”. The three-wheel rickshaw driver emerged as one of the notorious serial killer in recent memory, in a state which has never seen a serial killing spree of such proportions.
Mahanand took sheer thrills in conning young girls in his love trap with the false promise of marriage and then killing each of them with the long scarf (dupatta). If Jack the Ripper’s criminal exploits has had been confined to history in England, Mahanand has given India its own version. He is dubbed as a “Dupatta killer” for strangulating each of the girls with their scarfs.
The coastal state has been rocketed by shock and indignation in the way the forty-year-old went on killing young girls without raising suspicious in the community he lived and also how the police failed to pin him for the number of murders he undertook over the last one and half decade.
But, Mahanand proved to be a more than smart killer who outfoxed many a people with his smooth talk.
His modus Operandi was the same with each of the girls he has had killed so far. Earn the trust and confidence of the young girls. The first part done, he would then proceed to make a proposal to marry them.
Having played his role in striking a cupid arrow through the young girls heart he would fix a date ,on which she(the girl to be killed) would be taken to be shown to ‘his parents’.
He was following the Indian tradition, where the nuptial tie of children is approved by the parents or in their absence, by the elder members of the family. The nuptial tie had to be ratified by ‘his parents’. So the girls were requested by him to be dressed in full splendor so as to earn the approval of ‘his parents’.
In a country where wearing gold is both fashionable and a matter of prestige Mahanand asked his ‘prospective wife’ to wear all her gold ornaments to impress ‘his parents’.
But, instead of the girls being paraded before ‘his parents’ they ended up being strangulated to death in lonely and deserted places- hillocks, railway tunnels, cashew plantations, small rivulets and water bodies in different parts of Goa.
Show Coordinator Mathew Estrocio says: “This show has done several performances in Goa since it is released in 8th August 09, and it reached notched the Platinum Jubilee mark in record time. People like to watch it again and again because a true story which shook the tiny state of Goa, were 16 murders were committed by a serial killer (Mahanand). The Show also has solos, duets and trios sung by well know singers from Goa, besides comedy.
The show will be staged in Dubai and Kuwait on 14 and 15th January respectively, later two more stages will be held in UK before heading to Doha.
In Doha, the show will be staged at the Al Ghazal Hall (QP) on the 12th of February (Friday) at 4.00 pm.
For the sake of Konkani Songs lovers Francis De Tuvem will be flying in from Goa to render his selected solos to the Doha audience.
Tiatr, a popular form of entertainment owes its origin to Italy. The first Tiatr performance was “Italian Bhurgo” (Italian boy) by Lucasinho Ribeiro, staged in Bombay now Mumbai on April 17th 1892.
Ribeiro who used to work for an Italian theatre group brought forward his Italian theatre experience into Konkani Tiatr and thus earned the sobriquet of “Pioneer of Konkani Tiatr”.
Tiatr are a hit with Konkani speaking people along coast from Mumbai to Manglaore in Karnataka, it is a popular stage programme which includes music, dancing and singing. Tiatr songs and performances are mainly melodramas about family and domestic life, with each lyricist offering their own explanation for life's varied problems.
The word Tiatr is one of many Portuguese words imported into Konkani usage, and literally means theatre or loosely, a play. The art form of Tiatr, evolved from the folk art forms of Zagor and Khell, which were less developed but popular forms of drama in Goa. A traditional Tiatr consists of six to seven acts known as Pordhe (curtains), each about fifteen to twenty minutes long. These acts contain songs called Cantos, which are related to the story and flow in and out of the spoken dialogue.
In between the Pordhe are inserted two or three songs called Cantaras (songs), performed in front of the main curtain. The Cantaras do not always pertain to the story, but are a means of preventing boredom, providing comic relief and time for the changing of sets, costumes and makeup. Often these Cantaras are used to deliver social messages or satirical asides on current events that may not fit into the storyline of the play.