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IFFI pays tribute to real Anthony Gonsalves

Musician Anthony Gonsalves, who contributed to films like 'Mahal', 'Naya Daur' is now the subject of a documentary.

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Updated:December 1, 2011, 5:37 PM IST
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IFFI pays tribute to real Anthony Gonsalves
Musician Anthony Gonsalves, who contributed to films like 'Mahal', 'Naya Daur' is now the subject of a documentary.
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Panaji: Amitabh Bachchan made 'My Name is Anthony Gonsalves' popular in 'Amar, Akbar Anthony' but not many know that the number was a tribute by Pyarelal to his violin teacher. The real Anthony Gonsalves, who contributed to films like 'Mahal', 'Naya Daur' and 'Dillagi', is now the subject of a 58-minute documentary 'Anthony Gonsalves, The Music Legend', being screened at the ongoing IFFI.

The 84-year-old, who worked with India's iconic musicians including S D Burman, is now living a secluded life in the village of Majorda, 40 kms south of Goa. Produced by Shreekant Joshi and Mrinalini Joshi and directed by Ashok Rane, the documentary charts the journey of the Goan musician, whose contribution is almost forgotten.

"Laxmiji (Laxmikant from Laxmikant Pyarelal duo) told me that they will replace the name of Anthony Fernandes into Gonsalves as a respect to my Guru," Pyarelal, who composed songs for Amar-Akbar-Anthony, says in the documentary. That's how the song 'My Name is Anthony Gonsalves... Mai Duniya Me Akela Hun (I am alone in the world)' was born.

"My father was a choir master in a local Church," recalls Gonsalves, who is now mostly bed-ridden due to ailing health. He learnt music at home and later went to Mumbai in the year 1943, where he stayed with his uncle and played violin in various studios. "He was so tuneful that we never heard his instrument playing truant with the notes," Khayyam recalls.

Pyarelal calls Gonsalves 'top class musician' in the documentary. "Even now when issue of topmost violinist is discussed, Anthony saab's name comes first," he reminisces in the film. Gonsalves founded Indian Symphony Orchestra featuring playback singers Lata Mangeshkar and Manna Dey as soloists. It was during that time that tabla was first used in the orchestra.

The musician left for the US in 1965 and taught at Syracuse University. He returned to Goa in the year 1975 and later visited America twice till 1983. "Nobody acknowledges the musical contribution. I starved but I am happy that I did good music," says Gonsalves in the film. After two decades of isolation, the legend was remembered again by the people after few local institutions started honouring him.

"My father was in the depression. He never used to meet people after he came back to Goa," Laxmi Gonsalves, his daughter, told PTI. But people have started honouring him, she said, adding 'Swar Alaap,' a group from Mumbai used to often come down to Goa and research his works.

In September 2010, he was given lifetime achievement award in Mumbai followed by 'Karmaveer Puraskar' in Goa in November 2010.

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