Monday, 20 May 2013

LIFE ON AIR!


For those of us born during or after the launch of television in this country, the charm and necessity that the preceding generations had for the radio would be entirely alien to us. But back in those days when the radio was the only means of mass communication, the masses shared a unique relationship with it. The All India Radio (formerly Emisora de Goa) used to broadcast (and to a certain extent still does on its SW networks) poems, skits and short-stories to the eager ears of the masses.
            Under review here is Kannio Jivitacheo, a collection of three radio-plays in the Roman script by Pio Fernandes. All these three plays (Madda Mullant Ek Paddo Jinnecho, Serkosichea Tom’bu Bhitor, You Are Great, Grandpa!) deal with honest and sincere living in our daily lives. Pio explains why he decided to write radio plays. “I felt that the format of commercial tiatrs was inadequate to express my vichar (ideas) and I felt that Akaxvanni was best suited for my purposes,” he explains.
            Pio Fernandes in the first play tells the story of Philip, a boy of modest means and his two friends – Tony and Rico, who are rich. These three college-going boys are happy-go-lucky, Denis-the-menace kind of characters who get into the habit of stealing – for kick’s sake - from the village shops and orchards. Philip, the poor simpleton that he is, is always persuaded and instigated by his other two cunning friends to be in the thick of all action. His doting mother tries hard to protect her son. But in the end tragedy strikes: Philip (along with his friends) goes to rob tender coconuts from the orchard of his mother’s bhatkar (landlord), unaware of the trap the bhatkar has laid for him!
            In the second play, Pio Fernandes sets a simple story of sacrifice, friendship and team work against the backdrop of a circus. The author depicts the life of the performers and artistes of the circus under the paternal authority of the owner with the main tent of the circus serving as a metaphor for an idealized and extended family unit. In the third play, we are told the tale of a violinist who was never recognized for his genius and whose life is recounted in flashbacks by his wife to his eager grandchildren.
            For a radio play to be successful a playwright needs to effectively and successfully use the various technical advantages that the medium of radio offers. If one considers all the three plays together, one realizes that Pio Fernandes builds his plots reasonably well, making use of songs to either open a scene or close it. Thus, it can be said that such finer additions enhance the making of these songit khells or plays which the book – in its ‘written’ form – cannot accommodate. 
         In a radio play, the listener creates for him/herself the mental images and it is said that the writer need not provides such directions as are supplied for a stage drama. But what holds the listeners’ attention is careful attention for the production of sounds. What we and Pio Fernandes need to keep in mind is that when the plays were written, they were for the ‘listening pleasure’ where the narrator/s, the director and other technicians would improvise upon the script. A lot of additions as well as enrichments to the script take place due to such a collective involvement. When these plays are published in book form, Pio Fernandes is the sole person through whom the audience gets to access the plays and hence the sounds and smells and flavour and experience of the radio presentations are lost.
             There is, however, a way out of such a problem. Rather than printing these plays, Dalgado Konknni Akademi, under whose Kombri Yevzonn scheme this book is published, could have produced an audio-book. Such an audio-book would have retained the flavour of the plays as well as enriched their content.  For example in Serkosichea Tom’bu Bhitor, the reader misses such finer details like the sights, the sounds and the smell of the circus: the tinsel, the animals, the death-defying stunts etc. The reader is not transported in the thick and thin of the circus and s/he has no cues to take her/his imagination in a particular direction (as would have happened through the medium of a radio).

Through Kannio Jivitacheo, Pio Fernandes has tried his hand to bring in new ideas, and should seriously consider producing audio-books of his radio plays in the future.

Kannio Jivitacheo by Pio Fernandes (Kutt’tthalli/Cortalim: Unice Prokaxon), 2012; pp. 137, Rs. 50/-; Phone: 91-0832-2221688 (Available at Dalgado Konknni Akademi, Panjim)

For more on 'Romi Konknni' see here

(A version of this article appeared on Gomantak Times, dt: May 21, 2013).

1 comment:

  1. Thanks, Dale, for the intelligent review of Pio's book, specially the medium specifics. Regards.

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