Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Goan Carnival of yesteryears! Carnaval indeed!

Goa has been celebrating carnival for centuries since the Portuguese set footprints hKhell tiatrists of Carnival in Goaere to make it part of the lifestyle of Goans before the lenten season sets in. However in those days there were no floats, no blaring music systems, no motored vehicles to carry the revelers and everything was in a way original , genuine stuff through various programmes, the memories of which continue to touch the members of the older generation.

While there used to be a fun filled camaraderie among villagers during carnival, small plays or skits would be staged in front of prominent houses in the village. With the traditional "Ghumot" in tow, groups of men would dress colourfully in various costumes, some of them masquerading as women to perform various hilarious plays riddled with humour and satire, the memories of which are fondly remembered by the senior citizens till today.

The plays, known as Khell  were normally staged in villages. There was the usual poking of fun at the character played in the name of the Village Bhatcar( landlord) with his high nosed mannerisms and aristocratic attitudes often ridiculed and mocked at by the lowly mundkar ( labourer / farmer). khellcouple

In some plays there used to be  different groups formed to divide the members of the play. The group of the gawda community used to be called as the "Gaudiam parte" another group known as the "Raksiam parte" was a party deemed to belong to the monster group and there was a third group known as the "Bomboichi parte" which was a group of Goans presumed to be from Mumbai.

The destination to seek sponsors for such plays were always the richest people and the khell was normally enacted in the compound of these affluent Goans as the troupe moved from house to house in search of patrons to stage the play.

While the plays were held without even any basic facilities like props or curtains, they would effectively entertain the crowds to the hilt and would often be reffered to as the "Zomnir Khell" ( a play on the ground).

While spontaneity was a major ingredient in the Khell, yet everything was not on the spur of the moment and the songs and dialogues were written and the actors and musicians  would rehearse a bit before they took to the staging of the Khell.

When there was a beating of the drums, it was clear that the play is about to begin and the crowds simply used to find Khella desperate place in a circle around the artists and ready themselves in silence for a piece of the action.A whistle would blow before the action really got underway.The Regidor ( the headman of the village) of the village was granted the privilege of watching the first performance of the Khell and would not be charged any fees for the same after which the landlords and affluent people were visited for the performances.

Over the years the Khell slowly transformed with props and curtains coming in to make the suspense of the situation etc more effective with a small stage also being erected at many places.

However while the Khell still exists in Goa, it is only dominant in the sourthern part of Goa and specifiaclly concentrated in Salcete and other peripheral areas.

No comments:

Blog Widget by LinkWithin