I knew Hr. Britton much before I met him in Kuwait in 1978. Earlier I saw him in Goa singing attractive songs especially solos dressed in ladies sarees. As a lady he resembled his beautiful looking wife Maria whom I met in Kuwait too. He was a crowd puller from late sixties and in early seventies he blossomed into a seasoned singer. His two songs that gave him strong booster on Konkani Stage were “Saverewale Gaddi, Gaddi Chalenge” on Hindi Tune from popular Hindi Film song. And the other song “Pilot” dressed in blue saree. He was at his best in witty and semi comedy solos and his solos having double meaning were liked by many people. His solos became instant hit because of the catchy tunes too and also because of his powerful attractive voice.
After coming to Kuwait, H. Britton immediately made a mark for him. Along with Mendes Bros. and F. X. Pereira, H. Briton created sensation in Kuwait among Kuwait audience, at Keefan Hall and at Church Hall too. I personally encountered him when I called a meeting in Kuwait of all the prominent Kuwait based Tiatrists to organize Tiatros for raising funds for Novem Goem Daily Newspaper in 1978. H. Briton during the meeting was very vocal towards negative side by citing appropriate past examples of how Tiatrists failed even from J. P. Souzalin’s time to unite for a cause but in the end he was convinced of my idea and my elaborate explanation and gave his approval by becoming a part of our team. With the help of Kuwait based Tiatrists we organized two Tiatros for the establishment of Novem Goem Daily and collected a good fund for this cause because every Tiatrist acted free of charge. Only the Band under Trumpeter Teo charged us and that too full charges as if what we were doing for Konkani was for Marathi.
H. Brittorn was a very innovative artiste. On his home Video Studio in Kuwait he produced his own Konkani Audio Cassette with his own Lyrics but music from all original English songs from the English Audio Cassettes, he suppressed the original English words and in their places voiced his own Konkani words, it looked very attractive to the ears. This Cassette was an instant hit in Kuwait during those days. Best of his songs in Kuwait he rendered at Keefan Hall and the best song among all was ‘PORDEOS” which he rendered in his own Tiatro in which he released the sentiments and feelings of every Goykar in Kuwait for his Goa, Goan House and family members. Some of the words go like this:
Pordeos, Kuwait ho ghanv amcho, somestancho, bhav – bhoinnacho, Goykarancho.
Ek Chitt amkam kitli gorjechi, maink putachi, bhavak bhoinnichi, bailek ghovachi.
This was the song he sang wearing a nice bluish Suit, it was a decent solo and while singing he was at his majestically best. It was such a sentimental song that some even cried in the Hall while listening to it.
In 1982 while H. Britton was busy in organising his Skit for the Mangalorean Show organized by Luis Rodrigues, suddenly we were shocked that he was arrested. Later on I came to know that he was arrested not on genuine grounds, he was arrested when he was not guilty. One Konknni man from Ratnagiri who was driving Briton to work made the trick by playing a foul game and poor Briton had to pay the price. I was regularly going to see him in prison and I was always telling him to keep his head cool and alert and not to lose hope. I also requested him to go on praying and praying because the power of prayer is most powerful weapon. I did not want him to lose his mental balance as it used to happen to many prisoners then for being unable to bear the prison conditions. Here the life in prison is very difficult especially for a person brought up in decent environment. Based on this episode he rendered an opening solo in his Tiatro “Jivit Kuwaitchem” which he staged in Goa after his release from Kuwaiti prison.
One most pathetic incident I saw from H. Britton when I met him first time in prison was this: Because of my critical writings he was not in good terms with me yet I went to pay a visit to him. When he saw me, he cried and asked me: “Veronica, bhava mojea, tum kon re mozo, makam aplo bhav mhonntalet te Tiatrists khuim gelet re?” Then I pacified him and told him “to take it easy. This is life mojea bhava”. When you laugh, the whole world laughs with you but when you cry, you cry alone. Taking advantage of his misery which happened without his fault, some Goa based Tiatrists sang “Zupattis” against Britton and got shallow pleasure by giving distorted image of Britton. This is the tragedy of the lack of proper information.
After the invasion and liberation of Kuwait he came to Kuwait as a visitor to be with his family and if got a chance he also acted in Tiatros. His last appearance in public platform in Kuwait was approximately 3 years back when we felicitated Ophelia where he spoke beautifully in praise of Ophelia describing her whole life as a Tiatrist and even sang a nice solo to give an added booster to the whole function. While in Kuwait, because he was staying at my neighborhood, he was a regular visitor to my house and we used to discuss many topics regarding Tiatros. Two years back I interviewed him and it was later on published in goa.kranti.
H. Britton was a very jovial person spreading positive energy all around. It is sad to witness one after the other great stalwarts of Konkani Stage are leaving this world. Though they are leaving us but sadly their places are not filled by the living ones because the elders are not replaceable, they are of very high caliber in all respects. H. Briton is one such.
On behalf of all my like minded friends and colleagues especially those involved in the promotion of Konkani and Tiatro, I offer my deepest sympathies for all the family members of H. Briton and pray to God to provide him a suitable place in His Kingdom.
A. Veronica Fernades,