Tiatr is a type of musical theatre popular in the state of Goa on the west coast of India as well as in Mumbai and with expatriate communities in the Middle East, London and other cities where Konkani speakers have a considerable presence. The dramas are performed mainly in the Roman Konkani dialects and include music, dancing and singing by tiatrists. The word tiatr was derived from the Portuguese word for theatre “TEATRO”
Despite the assurances earlier this month by the Art & Culture minister Shri. Dayandand Madrekar that there are no plans to introduce the censorship for stage performances but the resentment is brewing among the tiatrist community. While ‘Tiatristancho Ekvott’ has issued an ultimatum to the government to reply to the petition submitted by them within 15 days and come clean on the issue, tiatrists are now planning to meet tiatr-loving MLAs, to get them to support their cause. “The government should reply to our petition and address all concerns raised by us. Refusal to reply will be an indication of the government’s admission of guilt. If the government fails to give us a written assurance that no censorship will be introduced for tiatrs, we will approach all tiatr-loving MLAs to lend us their support,” tiatr director Menino de Bandar said.
Normally the censor certificates are applied to the movies showing the scenes which are objectionable by certain communities in the society but the same is not applicable to the plays or tiatr as they cover more of the genuine social issues which is prevailing in the society. Tiatr revolves around social, religious and political themes. It is considered to be a mirror of Goan culture. The drama consists of 6 or 7 acts called pordhe . The acts are interspersed by songs which need not be directly linked to the content or the issues of the main drama. There are 2 or 3 songs between each of the acts. Tiatrist have always demonstrated a very high degree of social awareness. Most of the themes of tiatr are concerned with social problems confronting the people.
The Tiatr is an instance where mass support plays a crucial role. It is one of those arts which despite centuries of Portuguese suppression and post-liberation neglect from the state governments, has not just survived but also thrived and reinvented itself in many ways.
Tiatr is always performed within the boundaries of the norms set by the society and hence the application of the censorship does not comes in the picture unless until the certain communities raise the objection against it. The present havoc created by the certain elements of the political servants to create the fear amongst the tiatrists to stop them from showing the real picture of the society in tiatr.
After the severe agitation by the tiatrists The ruling BJP in Goa on Tuesday said it has no plans to set censor board for plays and the traditional Konkani musical theatres ‘tiatr’. “There are no plans for setting up any censor board to certify plays and tiatr before they go onstage. All these are rumors spread by unsuccessful politicians who want to gain mileage,” BJP spokesman Wilfred Mesquita said. Refuting the rumours of setting up of censor board for the theatre forms, Mesquita said: “I don’t know from where this news of censor board has come. There is no such proposal. We know it is a form of entertainment and if someone is hurt he can file defamation case in the court.”
There were widespread protests by theatre groups in the state after reports in the media claimed that the Goa government had plans to set up censor board for such forms of entertainment. “This is a wrong step. This is an attempt to gag the freedom of speech and expression,” former tiatr academy president Prince Jacob earlier said.