A balancing act

Having acted in many award winning tiatrs, Diptesh Harmalkar, a software engineer by profession, hopes to continue to maintain the high standards in competition tiatrs

J P Pereira

For the last 9 years, Diptesh Harmalkar has been one of the main actors in many award winning tiatrs presented by Alfi Arts Productions, Divar. Enacting various roles, both serious and humorous, he has made quite an impression on the audience. This is evident from the applause and favourable reactions he receives.

And indeed, Dipetesh’s journey into acting began during his school days at Our Lady of Divar HS. “Tiatrist Socorro de St Cruz was a teacher in the school and was given the responsibility to present skits and songs. He was the person who coaxed me to act on stage and I am always grateful to him for tapping my talent,” says Diptesh, who is the cousin of Prasad Harmalkar, one of the best actors on the Konkani stage in the Kala Academy Tiatr Competitions. His father Deelip, although not a professional actor, was also involved with the stage. He looked after the transportation of Alfi Arts and would substitute for any minor role, in case an actor was unable to come.

Diptesh continued acting and also writing in skits during his Higher Secondary days at Don Bosco’s in Panaji. In 2006, he joined Alfi Arts Productions to act in the annual Kala Academy Tiatr competition. A dual role of a father and son defrauding gullible victims in ‘Pissollim’, a tiatr written and directed by Alfie Fernandes, was his debut. In 2009, he did his next tiatr ‘Panchanama’ with the same director, and the tiatr was presented all over Goa. Here he played a major role of an elderly father, whose daughter is killed in a hit and run case. Diptesh then went on to act in ‘Panchvo Mandament’ where he had the audience in splits, with his comic timing. The tiatr which won the first prize emphasised on the fifth commandment ‘Thou Shall Not Kill’ and focused on various killings including murder, abortions, and euthanasia. Diptesh then went on to play the good son in ‘Pai To Mhozo’ and was last seen in ‘Point’.

Besides these, he acted in ‘Giddh 2’ by Valencio Vaz, and the Lenten shows ‘Mhojem Jivit Konanchea Hatant’ and this year’s ‘Khorench Hanv Patki Kai???’ presented by Lenoy Gomendes with Alfie Fernandes. He has also presented the tiatr ‘Problem’, which won first prize at the Kala Academy Tiatr Competition, in the form of a ‘natak’.

Besides this, Diptesh is also a good singer and a regular with Lenoy in musical shows. He composes lyrics, sets them to music, and has uploaded some of his songs on YouTube. “I sing on social issues and don’t involve politicians. If I have to find faults with the administration, it is done in a subtle humorous way. Before I point the faults of others, I have to see my own faults,” he says.

Recalling the first time he was asked to sing in a competition show, he revealed that he was one of six singers and had to sing just one line which he practiced for a number of days. “On stage, I forgot the line! No doubt the others covered up, but for me that was quite embarrassing,” he admits. After this, he decided to make singing also a priority by writing lyrics and practicing hard. Today he can sing with confidence and receives encores for solos, duets, and trios.

A software engineer through RIT Engineering College, Shiroda, Diptesh works for Open Destinations, a firm that creates software for the travel industry. He talks highly of his friend and mentor, Alfie Fernandes, who has guided him in the tiatr performances and his personal life. “Ours is an incredibly good friendship and I have great respect for him,” says Diptesh, adding that there is a need to focus on competition tiatr. “Competition tiatrs have quality and we have to maintain this standard in any tiatr. We cannot take the audience for granted. There should be quality entertainment and I will endeavour, to work for this to the best of my ability,” he says.