Monday, August 4, 2008

Junifer Rodrigues (Assolna)

(Popularly known as JENNIFER ROD)

Way back in 1964, Junifer Rodrigues started his Konkani stage career by winning two competitions - one with Bab Andrew in a drama "Zalach Paije" staged by Bernand de Aldona and the second with Bab Peter in Alfred Rose's Drama in Mumbai at the Theatre Hall P.T. Bhangwady, Dhobitalao. From there on, he acted in several dramas of Prem Kumar, Alfred Rose, Valent Mascarenhas, Rom Tony among others.

His singing talent was first noticed by Souza Ferrao, M. Boyer and Seby Coutinho (they used to train the students of Little Flower of Jesus High School in Princess Street, Marine Lines, Mumbai for the Annual School Functions). Upon finishing his graduation, his father gave him a choice of either pursuing dramatics or further continutation of his studies and he opted for the latter. However, he had to abandon his law studies and landed in Kuwait. In April 1974, he first acted in Alex Martin's drama "Rogtachi Axinad" and from then on there was no looking back. He staged several dramas of his late brother, Carmo Rod and helped many including Alexin de Maxem, Xavier Gomes, Benny de Colva, J.P. Parra, Rico Rod, etc. during 1974 to 1980.

Incidently it may be noted that this was the boom period in Kuwait as far as Konkani dramas/tiatrs were concerned. There was a record 6 dramas per year at an average.
Junifer Rodrigues has been actively associated with the local Goan clubs/associations and was the founder vice-president of the Goans Arts Circle, Kuwait. This body was instrumental and helped in raising funds for the Goa Cancer Hospital, along with Leopold Vaz.

A lover of sports and of football in particular, he was popularly known in Mumbai as a "Baccha Referee". This nick-name was given to him for being awarded his REFEERING BATCH at a young age of 20. He officiated several tournaments in Mumbai and Goa. He was a regular at The Cooperage, Cross Maidan, Xaverian Sports Complex and Karnataka Sporting Grounds specially the Inter-Collegiate and Schools Tournaments.

When the first Tournament was organized by the United Goans Centre in Kuwait, Junifer Rodrigues was the only qualified Goan referee at that time. In December 1980 at his residence in Salmiya, along with his mentor, the late Goan international referee, J.P. D'Mello and his Mumbai colleague A.E. D'Souza, he formed the Indian Football Referees Association (IFRA).

IFRA continues to this date to give yeomen services in the upliftment of football and refereeing standard among the Indian expatriates. The Indian community call upon him in organizing sports and cultural aspects from time to time.

- Researched by Goa-World Team (Gasper C. Almeida)

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