Besides being famous for its beaches, Goa has contributed immensely in the fields of arts, culture, architecture, and entertainment with legendary Goans who have become synonymous with excellence in their fields. Here our our pick of 5 Goans who have become more than just celebrities.
1. Charles Correa (1 September 1930 – 16 June 2015)
Charles Correa, Goa’s celebrated Architect, urban planner and activist recently breathed his last and the outpouring of grief on social media was nothing short of a virtual tsunami. A man known for his sensitivity to the needs of the urban poor, and the revival of the use of traditional methods and materials in building, Charles left an indelible mark on the Goan landscape with his unique vision. He is celebrated as an influential architect credited for the creation of modern architecture in post-Independence India and was awarded the Padma Shri in 1972, and the second highest civilian honour, the Padma Vibhushan by Government of India in 2006. He was also awarded the 1984 Royal Gold Medal for architecture, by the Royal Institute of British Architects.
2. Mario Miranda (2 May 1926 – 11 December 2011)
Goa’s very own Mr Funny Bones, Mario Miranda immortalized the idyllic Goa life through his drawings and cartoons. His murals and cartoons have been the pride and joy of Goans the world over reminding them of the little idiosyncrasies of regular Goan folk. During his illustrious career he worked with industry biggies such as Charles M. Schulz, (the creator of Peanuts) and met Herblock, the editorial cartoonist of the Washington Post. Mario’s cartoons were also featured in the Lilliput, Mad (once), and Punch (twice) magazines. He was awarded the Padma Shri in 1988, the Padma Bhushan in 2002 and All India Cartoonists’ Association, Bangalore, honoured him with a lifetime achievement award. The King of Spain, Juan Carlos, conferred on Mario the highest civilian honour of “Cross of the Order of Isabel the Catholic” which was presented to him on 11 November 2009 at his family home in Loutolim by Don Miguel Nieto Sandoval and on 29 December 2009 Portugal, under the President of the Republic Aníbal António Cavaco Silva, made him “Commander of the Order of Prince Henry”, a Portuguese National Order of knighthood. Mario Miranda was posthumously awarded the Padma Vibhushan, the second highest civilian award in the Republic of India, by the President on 4 April 2012.
3. Wendell Rodricks
Fashion designer and prominent Goaphile, Wendell Rodricks is the quintessential Goan who loves and cares about the State with a passion few can match. His foray into the world of high fashion began early and since then there has been no looking back as Wendell literally controls fashion trends of the country from his small village studio in Colvale, Goa. Rodricks was the first Indian designer to be invited to IGEDO (the world’s largest garment fair), and the first Indian designer to open the Dubai Fashion Week. In 2014, Government of India conferred upon him its fourth-highest civilian award the Padma Shri.
4. Lata Mangeshkar
She has the voice that can launch a thousand ships. The evergreen Lata Mangeshkar, songstress par excellence, traces her roots to a humble village in Goa’s hinterland called Mangeshi (also the place where the famous Mangeshi temple stands). Even though her family’s last name used to be Hardikar; her father Deenanath changed it to Mangeshkar in order to identify his family with his native town, Mangeshi in Goa. Lata began singing playback in movies as early as 1942 and her career has been most illustrious in playback singing since then. She has won several awards and honours, including Bharat Ratna (India’s Highest Civilian Award), Padma Bhushan (1969),Padma Vibhushan (1999), Dada Saheb Phalke Award (1989), Maharashtra Bhushan Award (1997), NTR National Award (1999), Bharat Ratna (2001), ANR National award (2009), three National Film Awards, and 12 Bengal Film Journalists’ Association Awards. She has also won four Filmfare Best Female Playback Awards.
5. Remo Fernandes
Activist, politician, and musician, Remo Fernandes wears many hats. Luís Remo de Maria Bernardo Fernandes, more popularly known as Remo Fernandes, is perhaps most famous as a pop/rock/Indian fusion artist and film playback singer from the musical state of Goa. The man who has been an inspiration to local youth since he began his career, Remo is a musical legend in Goa with his peppy and often tongue-in-cheek songs. His musical work is a fusion of many different cultures and styles that include Goan and Portuguese music, Sega music from Mauritius and Seychelles, African music, Latin Music from Spain and South America, the music of erstwhile European communist states, those of the dancehalls from Jamaica and Soca from Trinidad. His Hindi pop/rock and film songs became instant hits with the Indian masses, earning him Gold, Platinum and Double Platinum Discs. A regular on the music festival stage around the world, Remo has performed with international names such as Jethro Tull, Led Zeppelin and Queen, to name a few.
Text: Amina M Azad
Pics: Planet Goa Archives