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Arona Fernandes - Eyes Set High, but Feet Firmly on the Ground
by Richie Lasrado

October 11, 2005

Arona with Richie Lasrado - Resident Editor , - Mangalore
with pics by Dayanand Kukkaje

When the young girl, busy preparing for the premiere show of her maiden movie in the city, walked into the Daijiworld office on a courtesy visit, there were no put-on airs.

The blushing and inquisitive look told us the way she would acquaint herself with us. We immediately got into a free conversation. Daijiworld's lensman Dayanand Kukkaje needed no further clues or hints, and he readily got into action at once for some candid shots.

Arona Fernandes, the newly-moulded heroine of the Konkani movie 'Padri', still has the innocent and unaffected temperament about her.

Born of Albert and Rosie of Derebail origin, but currently domiciled in Permannur, Arona certainly drew our curiosity with her unique name. Their parents have only two issues. The elder is Benedicta, a doctor, married, and a practising Oncologist in distant Dronachalam - Drone, in short - in Andhra Pradesh.

When that was a sober, holy-sounding name, why Arona - an exotic name - we asked, with tongues firmly in cheek. She says, A stood for Albert, her dad, Ro for Rosie, her mom - and finally Na joined to represent 'Aeronautics' - a certainly flying, out-of-this-space idea. Some logic. Some ingenuity.

Arona, while at school (Nitte-managed in Deralakatte), had acted in many plays. But somewhere down in her heart, she had that craving to act in movies. Since she regularly took part in fancy dress contests, there was no such thing like stage fright. 

But would she like to mould herself on the lines of some great screen celebrity?  Certainly, no, says she. While she would aspire to win the kind of roles some great actresses played, she would also like to carve out an image of her own. Not that she would get stereotyped into a certain department of histrionics. She is keen on playing both comedy and tragic roles. It is her idea to take up different roles as challenges.

At the same time, since she is a trained classical dancer, would she like to take up a role of the kind that a Manju Bhargavi emoted in 'Shankarabharanam' or a Sudha Chandran in 'Nache Mayuri'? It was a good question from us, partly leading though. She grabs the chance and willingly says 'yes'.

How did she land the role in 'Padri'?  She chanced upon that ad that appeared in 'Raknno' Konkani weekly calling for new faces for the leading lady's role in the movie and she immediately applied for it. Since she had already taken part in the choreographed presentations in Wilfy Nites, she got a strong recommendation from Wilfy Rebimbus as well. Besides, she had already caught the attention of the film's producer, Raymond Quadros, with her nimble dance performance at the 'Henry Nite' held in Bangalore some time ago, where Quadros was actively involved in the organization. And her career took off and took shape.

But was there any resistance from the family or apprehensions of a stigma in the society?  Never. The parents were so supportive and gave all encouragement, she gratefully recalls. But her education took a break after SSLC, but now that the rush of the film-making is over, she is seriously pursuing her graduation in Arts at the University of Mysore at present. 

Were there any interesting things that happened during the making of 'Padri'? -  we were curious to know. The most remembered episode - still on top of her mind - was an accident that took place near Panaji while on her way on a shooting schedule. Otherwise, the two teams - one from Goa and another from Karnataka - joining together in making this movie was the most fascinating part of the whole experience. There was a total family kind of a camaraderie, she recalls.

But, what about the Goan diction of Konkani she had to adhere to?  She says she is being mentioned in the beginning of the movie as a Mangalorean girl. But she adjusts to the Goan way of speaking later on. Dubbing? No way, she says. It is her own, own voice throughout, she says possessively.

What is the public response she would envisage for the Konkani movie 'Padri'?  She is aware that the market is limited for Konkani movies. But with the kind of mixed ingredients and innovations that the makers of  'Padri' - scriptwriter Prince Jacob, producer Raymond Quadros and director Rajesh Fernandes - have attempted to pack into it, she says, a new life may be breathed into the  prospects of Konkani movies.

Does she have prospects of landing Kannada roles?  She would wait to get spotted after the success of the current movie. She has bright hopes of getting regular roles in Kannada serials. Some day she would like to work under directors of the kind of Nagatihalli Chandrashekhar or S Narayan. She nurses an ambition also to act with Vishnuvardhan, Bharati and such great performers. Although she said she would not like to shape herself like great actressses, nevertheless, with great respect to them,  she would like to play the kind of roles played by actresses like Bharati or Jayanti in Kannada. Incidentally, among her favourites in Bollywood are Shah Rukh Khan and Juhi Chawla.

Arona considers her future as bright. People will spot her talent and  appreciate and support her, she beams confidently.

What is her message to other aspirants to filmdom?  She says as long as  anyone keeps one's feet firmly on the ground, there is nothing to fear. 'It all  depends on how we conduct ourselves,' she asserts. She wants other girls to  come forward too, leaving aside fears of any stigma and make a name for  themselves.

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Comments on this article
joaquim jack, navelim goaWednesday, January 27, 2010
Konkani video films have good market and profit as long as viewer are honest and sincere, because most of the viewer hire or rent video CDís from video library or duplicate on computers, they should buy original and support Konkani film maker. I used to write and direct drama in commercial market, buy now working for English theatre for Carnival Corp.UK. Konkani viewers bother less to support to born writers and good literature.
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Captain Stanley Latif Correa, Urwa Stores/Saudi ArabiaMonday, February 25, 2008
Good news of Konkani Movie Padri. Congrats to Arona who took this couragious step to act. I agree with the comments made by Prakash D'Costa, Mangalore. We all wish all the best to Director, Producer, writer & casting team all the best & success. I love my mother tongue Konkani. Thank you Daijiworld for your wonder media service.
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Prakash D' Costa, MangaloreSunday, December 16, 2007
If anyone thinks that market of konkani movies is limited should still make these movies and to avoid losses they should be dubbed in other languages. for low market why the people should be deprived of the movies in their mother tongue.
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