SYLVESTER VAZ - the HITMAN of the Konkani Stage
Tall and dignified, Sylvester Vaz, the 'Hitman of Konkani Stage' as he is popularly known among Konkani Tiatr lovers, is a simple and compassionate friend to all. He has directed many plays and musical shows and organized many Konkani and English programs in the State of Goa. He is a celebrated compere at many gala shows and plays host for weddings, parties, dances, etc. At first year L.L.B, Sylvester was awarded a special prize for cultural performances at the Goa University.
For over 13 years, Sylvester has worked as a professional Konkani stage artiste and is much sought after actor to execute leading roles. He has acted and performed with the cream of Goa and Mumbai artistes – acted in short plays and Telefilms of Goa and Mumbai TV-Doordashan and sung many times. Gifted with an incredible tone, Sylvester has rendered his voice in many audio and CD albums in Goa/Mumbai and Mangalore. The last audio with lyrics penned by him was 'Tujem Upkari Hanv' together with Goa's nightingale Lorna.
Besides acting in Goa, Mumbai, Mangalore, Bangalore, Ratnagiri, Malwan, Udupi, Karwar, Ahmedabad, Delhi, etc, he has an international exposure which goes to prove his star status. He has traveled to Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Muscat, Qatar, Bahrain and now ofcourse based in Kuwait. The multitalented star has a distinct record of singing the opening chorus in almost every drama he features while winning awards has become a habit with him. He has bagged 5 times Best Actor and 6 times Best Singer Award at the Tiatr competitions organized by Kala Academy, Goa. Son of Mestre Camilo Vaz and Catarina Vaz, Sylvester comes from Maddel Grande, Margao, Goa. He is happily married to well-known stage artiste Irene Cardozo and has a 14 year old son named Jeremiah.
The dashing personality landed in Kuwait in 2002 to perform in a drama and fortunately to his good luck was invited to stay back for a job. Since then he has performed in almost every Konkani show organized by the Goan community in Kuwait. Deeply spiritual and having a strong religious grounding, Sylvester also uses his voice to spread the message of God. He is actively involved in the Charismatic Renewal Movement and is a prominent member of the Holy Family Choir as well as the husband-wife duo are also Cathecists serving in the Holy Family Cathedral. The star swept the audience off their feet with his screen presence in T-Bush’s Konkani first e-cinema 'BLACK Nhesop Atanchem Fashion'.
Initially, he used to organize stage plays and other variety programs at the Holy Spirit Church, Margao where he was involved in many activities specially in leading the church choir. His knowledge in playing the guitar and keyboards was a plus point. During one such program Sylvester was approached by Alex Rangel to act in his tiatr 'Koslo Kaido' for which he also composed songs and re-worked the whole script. I was spotted in this particular show by Micheal Gracias - a regular participant with his troupe Kala Niketan, Utorda, at Kala Academy Tiatr Competition, Panjim, he vividly remembers. Micheal invited me to join Kala Niketan and later gave me an opportunity to sing and act in the competition.
The biggest encouragement came when he won a merit certificate for just a one minute role. After that Sylvester was a regular for the competition shows for 9 consecutive years. I won many first places for acting and singing during this time featuring in prize winning plays like 'Valltti',
'Vadoll', 'Xhanti Melltoli', 'Onupkarponachem Vojem', 'Bodmas Zalem' and 'Moronn' under the Kala Niketan banner; and Michael Gracias' famed plays such as 'Moronn", 'Mukti', 'Zodd', 'Moipass', etc. Famous drama director Mario de Vasco who acted in one of our shows was so impressed with my singing prowess that he cast me in his first maiden show called 'Dhump', my first professional show, Sylvester smiles as he narrates this.
Under the banner Vell'lekar Nirmiti (Velim Productions) and direction of Fr. Nevel Gracias Sylvester acted in 'Amche Ghorabhe Kosbeleat?', Nach Gho Sundorea!', 'Amcho Bharat Mahaan!', Mhaka Tan Laglea', Tuji Xokti Dhi', 'Dev Kallzant Asa', 'Mhojea Mogant Ravat', 'Khursachem Zoit', etc. For Fr. Planton Faria, he acted in 'Goycho Saib', Kantteamcho Mukhutt,' etc. Other dramas I acted are late Rosario Rodrigues' 'Hanv Kallokhant Sandllim', 'Soglech Kantte Nhuim,' etc. Comedian Domnic's 'Tum Pasun', Comedian Agostine's 'Suseg', 'Sorg' as a joint director, Ali's 'Mog Korat', Jose Rod's 'Tujem Nanv Vhodd Zaum', M.Boyer's 'Kelear Chuk Kabar Sukh', Tony Dias' 'Thi Mhoji Maim (Part I) and Thi Mhoji Maim (Part II), Jr. Nelson's tiatr 'Ghorkar', etc and 'Argam Tuka Dhonia' by Tony Dias in 2005.
Sylvester sang at the Konkani film festival in 2000 and also acted in a professional English musical entitled 'Annie' directed by Fr.Valmiki Dias which was staged all over Goa and Bombay. It was a dream come true to act alongside legendary Konkani stage stalwarts like M.Boyer, Ophelia, Robin Vaz, Rita Rose, Rosario Rodrigues, etc.
His first show in Kuwait was for Simon Gonsalves in 'Tujea Kallzak Vinchar' in 2002. He also acted for Simon's 'Tuzo Gaum, Mhojem Naum'. Other dramas where he acted and was by now a recognized face were for Laurente Pereira's 'Lokachim Thonddam Bond' and 'Hea Gharachim Daram Bond'; 'Bhurgim Maim Paichem Sukh' and 'Ghor Bandlem-Ghorabho Moddlo' by Late Rosary Ferns; 'Almanachea Disa' by Marcus Vaz; Micheal D'Silva's 'Noora'; Salu Faleiro's 'Arxeant Hanslo, Arxeant Roddlo', Rafael de Majorda's drama, Rosario Rodrigues Production 'Aum Kallokhant Sandllim'; Patrick Dourado's 'Tujem Rogot'; Comedian Philip's Hit musical show 'Tum Voir Hanv Sokol', Kuwait-Goa Tiatristanchi Sonstha's (KGTS) Mega Musical Show, 'Tiatr ani Tiatrist', 'Konknni Machiek Noman', and various other musical shows and programs organized by Goan and Mangalorian communities.
In 2001, Sylvester had an offer from Tony Dias, producer of the superhit drama 'Thi Mhoji Maim (Part I)' for a gulf tour Kuwait/Bahrain/ Dubai/ Qatar/Muscat). In Kuwait, the show was hosted by Navelim Youth Centre (NYC) at the Indian Arts Circle hall. This club made the propaganda of my name giving me the title as 'Hitman of Konkani Stage'. It has to do with the percentage number of 'hit roles' he has enacted. The sobriquet still stands although he is a little title shy. “I prefer any kind of roles but most of all I like to play character roles. I craze for roles where I can exhibit great style and wear fancy clothes. I myself possess a passion to dress tidy and chic on stage. That helps me to expose my talents with freedom and fervor - be it singing, acting or dancing”, he mentioned to this interviewer.
The role of Doctor Romeo in late Shri Rosario Rod's non-stop drama 'Aum Kallokhant Sandllim'. This particular role specially written by Rosario Rod brought him into the limelight on the professional stage. So also, his other forte is that he enjoyed playing a classic negative role in Comedian Agostine's 'Suseg' for which he gained a number of die-hard fans. Also, at the staging of 'Goencho Saib' people used to come and kiss my hand and fall down at my feet…it was touching...
Among the females, Irene Cardozo e Vaz is my all time favorites as an actress, and after my marriage to her she is my heroine of all times.
Sylvester has acted in many regional language telefilms such as'Kranti',
'Somaz zago asa', 'Mhaka zaag zai' of Eagle Productions which were dubbed in Konkani and Marathi and telecast on Goa and Bombay television.
Sylvester has worked as a professional Konkani stage artiste and is much sought after actor to execute leading roles. He has acted and performed with the cream of Goa and Mumbai artistes – acted in short plays and Telefilms of Goa and Mumbai TV-Doordashan and sung many times. Gifted with an incredible tone, Sylvester has rendered his voice in many audio and CD albums in Goa/Mumbai and Mangalore. The last audio with lyrics penned by him was 'Tujem Upkari Hanv' together with Goa's nightingale Lorna. He is a celebrated compere at many gala shows and plays host for weddings, parties, dances, etc. Acted in first Konkani E-Cinema “Black-neshop atamchem fashion” by T-bush the film short entirely in Kuwait. Also seen singing in Shahu’s VCD- “MUSICIAN” and will be seen in “DOLLA” by Ignatius-this film also short in Kuwait & Goa.
Besides acting in Goa, Mumbai, Mangalore, Bangalore, Ratnagiri, Malwan,
Udupi, Karwar, Ahmedabad, Delhi, etc, he has an international exposure which goes to prove his star status. He has traveled to Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Muscat, Qatar, Bahrain and now ofcourse based in Kuwait.
It is on record that Sylvester was the only Goan Konkani artist to be selected to sing at the Konkani film festival in 2000 and also acted in a professional English musical entitled 'Annie' directed by Fr.Valmiki Dias which was staged all over Goa & Bombay. It was a dream come true to act alongside legendary Konkani stage stalwarts like M.Boyer, Alfred Rose, Rita Rose, Ophelia, Robin Vaz, Rosario Rodrigues, Remmie Colaco, Antonette Mendes, Trio Kings, C D’Silva, Aristides Dias, Late Bab Peter, etc.
Sylvester is a Catechist in the Holy Family Cathedral, Kuwait City for the last five years. He devotes his time in singing for the glory of God. "I am Choir Master & Incharge of 3 (three) Choirs in the Cathedral. I love to glorify God with my singing & Music and also to teach and train young children. My wife also sings along with me and my Son Jeremiah joyfully plays the keyboards", he mentions.
Recently Sylvester toured London in July with Maestro Shahu’s Musical show “TIATRIST” and by public demand and special request will be travelling once again to the U.K.to perform in Fr.Lucas Rodrigues (Pilar Fathers Production) “MHAKA ZABAB ZAI” next month.
Konkani lovers get set to entertain with the melodious voice of Sylvester Vaz and Irene for Comedian Philip's "ANI, ANIK ZAIEM" musical show to be staged on 9th September 2011 at the American International School auditorium, Maidan Hawally.
This article is based on an interview by: Gasper Crasto
Additional input, research and photos by: Gaspar Almeida
August 23, 2011
[Photos supplied by the Vaz Family].