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Alkazi Theatre Archives


Newspaper Report on Konkani Theatre in Calcutta’s Natyavaarta, 1977: Understanding Circuits of Print Culture and Inter-regional Dialogue and Exchange

The monthly magazine ‘Natyavaarta’, edited by Vimal Lath from 1976 and published by Anamika Publications in Hindi from Calcutta, was available at a price of 50 paisa per issue and a yearly subscription of Rs.6, which covered news as well as discussions on theatre happenings from all over India.

A Statesman report on Konkani Theatre reprinted in Natyavaarta, Issue 5, February 1977, introduces the readers to the ‘popular’ theatre of Goa – ‘Tiatr’, adapted from Portuguese form of ‘Tiatro’,

“सन् १८९० में जाकर दो गोवानी कलाकार – जोआओ अगोस्तिन्हो फर्नान्डेज और लुकास रिबेरो (जो दोनों मिलकर लुकाजिन्हों के नाम से मशहूर थे) – बम्बई शहर में कोंकणी नाटक कर पाये। नौकरी की तलाश में बम्बई आये इन दोनों कलाकारों ने एक पेशेवर ग्रुप गठित किया, नाम रखा पोर्चूगीज ड्रामेटिक कम्पनी और पहला नाटक किया ‘इटालियन बर्गो’ (इतालवी लड़का)। बम्बई शहर के गोवानी आप्रवासियों के बीच यह नाटक खूब सफल रहा।…जब कोंकणी नाटक के इस स्वरूप की जड़े बम्बई में जम गयी तब जोआओ अगोस्तिन्हो फर्नान्डेज ने एक अन्य प्रतिभाशाली गोवानी कलाकार ए. आर. सूजा फेरोओ के साथ मिलकर इसे गोवा में ले जाने का विचार किया। उन्होंने वहां सामाजिक व ऐतिहासिक अनेक नाटक किये…”

Such an intermedial exchange between the newspaper and magazine sheds light on the circuits of print culture, which allowed for an interregional dialogue and proliferation of information on theatre forms across India. Reports like these provide ethnographic knowledge and historicize theatre with the simultaneous advances taking place in the field of arts at a particular time contributing to the local knowledge as well as to a larger discourse on Indian theatre. For instance, this article historicizes Tiatr in 1890; its form, similarities and exchanges with local, ‘folk’ performance traditions like Jagar and Khel and from Portuguese ‘Recita’ or ‘Recitation’, and the influences of Marathi theatre and Hindi films.

Newspaper Report on Konkani Theatre in Calcutta’s Natyavaarta, 1977
Image1: A still from Theatre Unit’s production of ‘Aeto Tuku Baasaa’ featuring Utpal Rai and Alka Ganguly.
Image 2: Article on Konkani Theatre

All courtesy: Anand Gupt Collection/ Alkazi Theatre Archives