The lure of the stage

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Post his work stint abroad, Agostinho Mascarenhas returned to Goa and started a water sports facility and a restaurant. But he could not ignore the call of the stage

JP Pereira

Agostinho Mascarenhas, popular on the Konkani stage as Agusto de Calangute, is both a singer and actor. His songs always have good moral values and at times, he keeps the audience guessing till the final verse. His acting too is commendable and he has played a variety of roles. Hailing from Calangute, his father, Alex Joao Mascarenhas was an exponent of the traditional ‘zagor’ and writer of lyrics. “My father wrote lyrics for many and I feel I got the talent to write from him. That is the reason why I decided to go back on stage when I returned to Goa in 2007 after working abroad for seven years,” he says.

Indeed, Mascarenhas worked as a chef in the Czech Republic. On his return in 2007 he began a facility for water sports in Calangute, one of the main tourist destinations of Goa. He also started a restaurant. But something was missing.

“While schooling at the Little Flower of Jesus HS, I would take part in plays and the choir. The urge to go on stage and sing was always there. I used to sing in the village tiatr but then came the offer of a job abroad and I took it,” he says. In 2007, he got the opportunity to be part of ‘Thikann’, a tiatr by Comedian 64. This was what he was missing and he decided to fulfill the calling. The play entered the Kala Academy Tiatr Competition and later did the rounds in Goa. “The feeling was good and I am glad I continued,” he says with a smile. Pascoal Rodrigues cast him in ‘Cake’, followed by ‘Tourism Minister’, ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’ and two more by Jr Reagan as well as Prince Jacob’s top hit ‘Aao Jaao, Goa Tumhara’. Besides these there were tiatrs by some of the established directors as well as new ones. After singing and acting for Jose de Benaulim in ‘Hem Kalliz Mogachem’ and ‘Mogan Fullam….’, this season, he performs in three shows. These include ‘Xezarim Ganvanchi, Soirim Nanvanchi’ by Jose, ‘Ibadd’ by John DSilva and ‘Tuka Zai Toxem’ by Comedian Ambe.

A good singer and composer, he has also released a couple of audio discs. ‘Lakhdacho Khuris’ was released with songs sung with Lui, a friend. Tony Fernandes provided the music. “That was my first try and only the two of us rendered the various songs on the disc. The second album, ‘Fulancho Khuris’, was released with another friend Saby with music by Babush. This time I roped in various artistes of the Konkani stage to render the songs,” he says.

Taking a cue from the father, his three children have taken up music with plenty of interest. Cyphan plays the saxophone and keyboard, Ciffany plays the violin and Cliffon plays the drums. They have also rendered songs for the competition shows. His wife Rosita sings in the church choir and supports the other four artistes in a big way. “I have been blessed a great deal by my God and I am eternally grateful for this. I have a supportive family and get many good offers to perform on stage. Andrew Fernandes, Cajie de Cacora and Jose de Benaulim are three of my friends who have always been there to help and guide me. I try to give a good message to the audience with my songs. Tiatr has to continue and this is one traditional culture of Goa that should always be promoted. I will work on stage as long as possible and if my children are interested, I will encourage and support them,” he says.