Normandez’ love affair with acting began at a very young age. He recounts his journey in tiatr to NT BUZZ
J P Pereira
Known on the Konkani stage as Normandez, Felipe Norman Fernandes is passionate about his art and it shows through his impressive singing and acting. Hailing from Assolna in south Goa, he is the son of the late Jose Caitan and Hillarya Fernandes. Although his parents were not involved in drama, they were both very supportive of their son who enjoyed acting from a young age. His foray into theatre began while studying at Don Bosco, Sulcorna. Encouraged by in-charge of St Savio Boys Home, Br Felix Fernandes, the young boy would act, write short plays and songs for various functions in the school. In the 80s, there was a craze in Goa for Konkani one-act plays. Various competitions were held and cash prizes awarded to the winners. “I was an avid reader of the late Reginald Fernandes’ Konkani novels and was inspired by these stories,” says Normandez. He wrote his first one-act play on the evils of dowry titled ‘Bhavachem Dennem’, and performed this with a group of talented artistes who are professionals today. Later he also presented ‘Tallem’. These two plays would usually bag one of the first three places and individual prizes in the various competitions he participated in.
Watching him perform, the late Anil Kumar cast him in his horror tiatr, ‘Otmo’. Soon top director Roseferns, who had hit the century mark with most of his plays, invited him to join the troupe. Normandez was cast as the main role in the nonstop show, ‘Tuttlele Dhage’. This was followed by ‘Dovo Kanvllo’. One day, the troupe performed four shows. The final show that began at 11 p.m. ended at 2:30 a.m. Returning home in those days was a problem: only a few artistes had their own transportation. As he was returning home with one of his colleagues, they were stopped by the police near the Municipal Garden in Margao and questioned. Their explanations fell on deaf ears and both were arrested. Roseferns was contacted and the director had to rush at that hour to secure their release. “At this juncture, my mother decided that I should stop my foray into tiatr and take up a serious employment,” he says with nostalgia.
During those days, he also wrote and directed his own tiatr and was quite popular. Heeding his mother’s advice, between 1989 to 2008 he took up employment abroad and even staged ‘Mhoje Dage Tutt’lle’ in Doha Qatar. During vacations in Goa, he would organise musical shows and perform as well. When Rons staged his tiatr ‘Dev Podvedar’ in America, Normandez was asked to play the lead in this play. At present, he has joined the troupe of comedian Dominic and is seen in ‘Mafi Magtam’, ‘Aadhar Card’ and ‘Housewife’. He also played a very significant role in Fr Michael Fernandes’ impressive Lenten play, ‘Hanv Tuzo, Tum Konnancho?’
Normandez also created his own banner, namely ‘Hillary’s Productions’. Under this banner he released four audio albums. ‘Bhavachem Dennem’, ‘Baradicho Khuris’, ‘Kazarachim 25 Vorsam’ and ‘Mental Bapui’ were accepted well. Various artistes from the Konkani stage rendered songs on diverse subjects with beautiful lyrics written by him. He writes serious songs as well as humorous ones and sets these to his own tunes. With help from Savio Almeida, Normandez’ song ‘Bhavarthi Dotor’ dedicated to his mother was aired on the American Asian Radio Channel, an impressive feat for a Konkani artiste. ‘Bhavachem Dennem’ was also made into a video shot by professional photographer, Satish Kumar. The video was shown on Doordarshan and later released on VHS. A new audio disc titled ‘Isabel’ is due for release this Easter.
Now settled in Goa, Normandez is still greatly sought after for several projects. He has worked in the Gulf, the States and recently in Angola working with Bechtel. He lives with his wife Julia and daughter Stephanie. Stephanie helps with the production and marketing of the audio discs and her songs have also featured on his albums. Normandez feels that songs on actual incidents and even politics are popular with the audience, however songs like those of Chris Perry will remain forever. “I believe that the emotions of an actor should be conveyed to the audience. I took up employment to support my family financially. But acting and singing will always be my passion. I will act as long as I can and I pray to God, that I make a good comeback,” says Normandez.