Gerry D’Mello
Daijiworld Media Network, Canada

Canada, May 14: After a long and patient wait by the Konkani art lovers in Canada, the renowned writer, great dramatist and stupendous comedian ‘Konkan Natraaj’ Francis Fernandes Cascia has arrived in Canada last week and is all set for his maiden performance on Canadian stage.  The Comedy King Francis will be performing in North America’s most popular Konkani event Kala Saanz organized by Canara World Foundation Inc (CWF) at the ‘Port Credit Secondary School Auditorium’ in Mississauga, Canada on Sunday, May 27, 2012.

Francis Fernandes, evergreen hero of the Konkani stage, an ageless Konkani writer, playwright, producer, director and above all a relentless donor, after serving over three decades bade farewell to Dubai recently.  He is a captivating stage actor, has won a huge crowd of fans for himself and is Konkani’s Craze among the Konkani communities in Mangalore, Mumbai & Middle East.  Some of the best dramas that Francis wrote and played are Kityak Negar Kortai, Avoi ti Avoi, Matlabi Sounsar and Maldisanv, which have come in the form of videos and have sold more than 3000 copies. Some of his shows have seen multiple runs such as Kityak Negar Kortai (11 shows), Avoi thi Avoi (9 shows), Motlabi Soumsar (8 shows), Tum Mhaka Visar (7 shows), Maldisanv (6 shows) and so on.  Now he has landed in Canada together with his beloved wife to spend quality time with his son and his family and all the more with his lovely grand-children. “It’s the beginning of a new life” says Francis, an undisputed Comedy King of Konkani stage.

Francis has been a record setter along his life. He has many firsts to his credit. He was the sole dramatist who had played his dramas at St Mary’s Hall at Mazgaon, in Mumbai, every Sunday at a stretch. He was the first Mangalorean dramatist who have staged highest number of his own creations in the Gulf since 1977. He is the first and only dramatist who has been bestowed with 99 awards and recognitions by different organizations from around the world. His last drama ‘Matharo Chorbela’, enacted by the same star caste across the world, completed 70 shows in various parts of India, middle-east and Israel. Francis has written 32 (3 hrs or more), 25 (2 hrs), 3 Novels, more than 10 short stories, over 25 poems and over 100 Shahiries. He is also known as the Shahiri King of Konkani. By any means a greatest feat no other Mangalore based Konkani playwright has ever accomplished during his life time

Also known as the Sachin Tendulkar of Konkani stage Francis Cascia is all set to his 100th ‘public reception and felicitation’, the 2nd one in Canada.  For his relentless service to Konkani language and the society at large, CWF will be honouring him with a traditional shawl (100th for Francis) and conferring on him a prestigious “Canara Kala Sanketh-2012” award, a well deserved honour indeed!

Upon his arrival representing, I had the unique opportunity to air a few questions at him and following are some excerpts:

Q: Francisab, how did it feel landing in Canada, also known as North America’s Cradle for Konkani Talents?

A: Wonderful. I feel that it’s a life time achievement to perform my talent on Canadian stage. I salute Canara World Foundation especially Max Mendes and Flavian Pinto for all their efforts and hard work in organizing Kala-Saanz event year after year and for giving me an opportunity to perform live on stage this year.

Q: Canada is excited to watch you live on stage for the first time. What have you planned to cool-down their excitement?

A: I am going to act in a skit as a lead role and I am sure the audience will cherish the memories of a life time. I am very confident that I will fulfill my aim. My only desire is to make the crowd happy.  I am thankful to all the Mangaloreans and Goans residing in Canada who eagerly await to see me and my performance on stage.

Q: Francisab, apart from your splendid achievements on stage you are very well known for your charity works.  Could you please tell me what made you to be so generous?

A:  I have remained as a humble, amiable gentleman, easily approachable by people of any caste, creed or community. I have no hang ups of being a successful celebrity, for I have come through struggle and faced a number of trials and troubles in my life.  At times, as I reminisce today, I had to walk barefoot to my school. But what actually came out from this is the lesson I learnt through the hardships and a kind heart which I have carried all along, which cries for any humanitarian cause, as and when someone approaches me for charity.

Q: Francisab, what’s the most memorable event in your life as a stage performer?

A:  As a dramatist I have remained committed even during testing times. Once while I was performing on stage in Bombay, I received a telegram which contained news of my father’s death. There was no way that I could travel to Mangalore to attend my father’s funeral as the Konkani stage was paramount in my heart. I buried the pain deep within and continued my acting. I informed the audience of the sad news at the end of the show. This incident I will never forget in my life.

Q: You are going to receive 100th shawl and felicitation on Canadian soil. Francisab, can you brief me about your excitement on this unique record in the history of Konkani?

A:  Yes, I feel so proud and excited on this remarkable achievement.  In order to score this Century in Canada I deliberately avoided an honour in Mangalore recently.  I strongly feel this honour is a recognition for Konkani art and culture.

Q: What is your message to your fans in Canada?

A: I have landed in Canada to quench the thirst of my fans. I am fully committed in my mission. Surely every Mangalorean & Goan will attend this show with great aspiration. Believe me; I will never let them down.  I will remain grateful to the Konkani community worldwide and I will continue performing on stage until my dramas are savoured by my fans and friends in any part of the globe.

Max Mendes, the dynamic President of CWF, informed ‘Team Daijiworld Canada’ that - “We are extremely excited and proud to host such a unique power packed Konkani entertainment in Canada with Francis Cascia’s maiden performance as an actor that will surely create history in Canada. His performance will open a new door to an exciting entertainment arena in Canada. This event will give a great opportunity for Konkani Music & drama amateurs to showcase their ability. The members of the organizing committee have worked very hard to plan this magnificent event”. He was highlighting the program details of ‘Kala-saanz’, an event that Canara World Foundation presents every year to showcase the talents of Canarite immigrants in Canada.

After the thrilling success of ‘Wilfy Nite’ in 2005, 'Claud Nite' in 2008, 'Henry Nite' in 2009, 'Melwyn Peris Nite in 2010, and again ‘Claud Nite’ in 2011, this year’s Canara Kalasaanz-2012 with veteran Konkani Dramatist Francis Fernandes Cascia too will attract Konkani art lovers in big numbers.

Canadian Konkans are highly privileged to have in their midst Konkan Natraaj Francis Fernandes Cascia for the first time and talented local artistes at the gala show to be held on Sunday May 27, 2012 from 1.00 pm onwards at the ‘Port Credit Secondary School Auditorium’. Konkani's second to none in Canada Oliver Sequeira will be the Music Director and incredible musician Tony Pinto of 'Amchem Noxib' and 'Nirmon' movie fame will be on keyboard.  Renowned multifaceted Konkani artiste Manohar Pais will be taking a lead role in singing and acting. Popular compere Donald Alva will compere this unique show. In addition, Canada's 'Comedy King' Flavian Pinto is all set with his rib-tickling jokes to send the audience to peels of laughter. This music extravaganza is going to attract Konkani music lovers in large numbers and undoubtedly will be a historical show.

Earlier release:

Canada : Francis Cascia's Konkani Play on May 27