Antonette Mendes: A Living Legend of Konkani Theatre and Music
Antonette Mendes, also known as Maria Antonia D’Souza, was born on May 10, 1944, in Mumbai. Her father, A K D’Souza, was a sailor, theatre actor, director, and writer, while her mother, Innocencia D’Souza, was a homemaker.
Antonette developed a passion for singing and participated in co-curricular activities in school. She began her career in tiatr (a form of Goan musical theatre) at the age of 15, performing in her father’s tiatr called “Aum To Tarvotti” at the Princess Street Theatre in Mumbai.
Antonette’s breakthrough came when she acted in the tiatr “Fuddar” directed by Kid Boxer, which was staged in Mumbai and Goa.
This opportunity led her to perform in East Africa in three tiatrs, including “Bancruttam Bancrutt” by Kid Boxer and “Dotor Advogad” by Alfred Rose.
She eventually became a director herself, starting with her father’s tiatr called “Dilolo Jurament,” and went on to write and direct her own tiatrs such as “Obgath,” “Tum Saiba Konn,” and “Don Ghoram.” She acted in numerous tiatrs directed by renowned directors, earning recognition and praise.
Journey Across Borders: Antonette Mendes’ Global Musical Voyage:
Antonette also had the chance to perform in musical shows and tiatrs in countries like Bahrain, Kuwait, Canada, Germany, London, Dubai, Muscat, and Doha. She had a long-standing collaboration with M Boyer, who was a strict but fair director, and she worked with him in the tiatr “Besanv.”
Antonette got married and has three daughters, and she considers her role in the non-stop tiatr “Mauli,” written and directed by her son-in-law, as her most memorable performance.
Some of her notable tiatrs from the past include “Sounsar Sudhorlo,” “Adim Tem, Atam Hem,” “Mog Kazar Divorce,” “Angvonn,” “Darunn Voddil,” and “Gharachem Sukh.”
Antonette’s professionalism on stage led her to act in three highly regarded Konkani films, including “Amchem Noxib” directed by A Salam, where her role opposite the late comedian Antony Mendes is still remembered.
Her melodious rendition of the song “Claudia” in the film “Nirmonn” became a timeless hit. She also appeared in the film “Sukhachem Sopon” by Al Jerry Braganza, Bonifacio’s film “Zababdari,” and played a comedy role in Jagdish Narulia’s Hindi film “Mohabbat Zindagi Hai.”
She even had a significant role in Cyrus Mistry’s English play “The Legacy of Rage.”
Before marrying Romeo in 1966, Antonette acted in one of his tiatrs in Mumbai. She made a mark in the Konkani music world and was considered the “queen” of the Konkani stage before Lorna.
She collaborated with Alfred Rose on LPs for HMV, performing solos like “Nursichem Fugasaum” and “Cheddum Xetcamteachem.” Her duets with Alfred Rose, including “Kazari Bhoinnik Lagon,” “Fottoilem Deva,” and “Ago Mojea Sundorea,” became memorable songs.
The Epitome of Musical Excellence: The Masterpiece Song:
A Legendary Encounter: Antonette and Romed Mendes with Amitabh Bachchan:
Antonette and Romed Mendes, the dynamic duo of the Konkani entertainment industry, had a remarkable and memorable encounter with the legendary Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan. Their meeting with Bachchan became a cherished moment in their lives, leaving an indelible mark on their career.
It was during the launch of their hit audio cassette “Jivit Ek Sopon” in the 1980s that Amitabh Bachchan graced the event as a special guest. This was a significant honor for Antonette and Romed, as Bachchan’s presence added immense prestige to their musical endeavor.
During the event, Amitabh Bachchan not only attended as a guest but also delivered an introductory speech in Konkani, displaying his respect and support for the Konkani entertainment industry. His presence and words of encouragement further solidified Antonette and Romed’s stature and brought widespread attention to their work.
The encounter with Amitabh Bachchan became a cherished memory for Antonette and Romed Mendes. It served as a testament to their talent, dedication, and the impact they had made on the Konkani music scene. This special moment with the legendary Bollywood actor added a new level of recognition and appreciation for their musical contributions.
Antonette and Romed Mendes’ encounter with Amitabh Bachchan stands as a testament to their exceptional artistry and the wide-reaching influence of Konkani music. It serves as a reminder of the significant role they played in promoting and preserving Konkani culture through their music and performances.
Here are some frequently asked questions (FAQs) about Antonette Mendes:
Who is Antonette Mendes?
Antonette Mendes, born Maria Antonia D’Souza, is a renowned figure in the world of Konkani theatre and music. She is celebrated for her contributions as an actress, singer, director, and writer.
What is Antonette Mendes famous for?
Antonette Mendes is famous for her exceptional performances in Konkani tiatrs (musical dramas) and her melodious singing in Konkani music. She is regarded as a trailblazer and a legendary figure in the Konkani entertainment industry.
What are some notable works of Antonette Mendes?
Antonette Mendes has acted in numerous tiatrs directed by renowned directors, including Remmie Colaco, Joe Rose, and M Boyer. Some of her notable tiatr performances include “Besanv,” “Sounsar Sudhorlo,” and “Gharachem Sukh.” She has also appeared in popular Konkani films such as “Amchem Noxib” and “Nirmonn.”
How has Antonette Mendes contributed to Konkani music?
Antonette Mendes has made a significant impact on Konkani music with her soulful voice. She has recorded over 5,000 songs in various audio formats, including albums, cassettes, CDs, and LPs. Her collaborations with renowned musicians like Alfred Rose and Chris Perry have produced timeless classics, such as “Piti Piti Mog” and “Kazari Bhoinnik Lagon.”
Has Antonette Mendes received any awards or recognition?
Yes, Antonette Mendes has received several awards and accolades for her exceptional contributions to Konkani theatre and music. She has been honored with the Tiatr Academy Goa’s Lifetime Achievement to Tiatr Award, the Kala Academy Award, and the Goa State Cultural Award, among others.
What is Antonette Mendes’ philosophy as an artist?
Antonette Mendes believes in portraying characters authentically through appropriate costumes and emoting as demanded. She emphasizes the importance of leaving a lasting impact through good songs and voice modulation. Despite facing challenges, she remains dedicated to the Konkani stage and has vowed to continue her artistic journey until her last breath.
Can Antonette Mendes be seen performing live today?
Antonette Mendes, due to her advanced age, is no longer actively performing in Konkani tiatrs or live shows. She has significantly reduced her professional engagements and is currently residing in Mumbai.