Just before the end of the first act the lovable Chic Chocolate on-screen reminisces with Lorna’s father – perhaps about the way her father spirited her to the station for a show-- and says ‘We did it for the music.’
It was people like Chic and Lorna’s father who understood what it meant to be an artist.
Nachom-ia-Kumpasar is about how Chris and Lorna eternalized Goan music. At a price. Christopher (Chris) Pereira (Perry) is shown restless as the film opens, seeking as an artist, to tame the daemon within him. In the film, he comes through that epic walk in the fields, with his sidekick, which will change his life forever. He chances on Lorna singing in the village and the rest is history.
Many scenes are about tense waitings at the railway station, because Chris and Lorna lived their lives in transit. They knew that peril awaited them at both destinations, Bombay or Goa. But they still made their music.
At different times of life we are called to hear a different kind of music. This was the moment for Chris and Lorna and they would not let it go. They knew it would destroy them but they would not let it go. They did it for the music – and for love. Nietzche, the German philosopher once said, ‘The artist is above morality.’
The film is loosely arranged around a set of songs Lorna and Chris performed in tandem, he playing the trumpet, she crooning – always being the inspiration for each other. As the ecstasy of their union reaches its zenith a new kind of music is born. Goan musicians in Bombay in the 1960’s make a comeback with jazz. Lorna and Chris with their band of musicians performed at the Venice nightclub, Bombay in 1971 with their banner displayed at the Astoria Hotel opposite Eros cinema.*
From the scenes shown of Goan life in Bombay one sees how difficult it was to make a living in those days. But the Goans were there for each other in the kudds – the shared living spaces for Goans outside Goa; in the bars where they got together to share their dreams; and in the celebration of Goa in their songs. They exported Goa, their USP (Unique Selling Proposition). Though both Lorna and Chris were living in Sonapur, between Dhobi Talao and Dabul they had an intimate knowledge of the Goan way of life and set that down to music. In this home away from home, they created a space – a diaspora - where one could be a Goan without actually living there.
While Chris Perry left us to play his trumpet elsewhere in 2002, Lorna is among us today. When Crimson Tide opened with Lorna’s song for the final night at the Semana da Cultura Indo Portuguesa (Goa) at the Taleigao Community Centre last week, I could not but evoke the pathos, despite the swinging to the jazz.
*See Naresh Fernandes, www.tajmahalfoxtrot.com ‘The Story of Bombay’s Jazz Age.’ This article published in Gomantak Times Weekender, St. Inez, Goa on Sunday 15 February 2015. Pix courtesy timesofindia.indiatimes.com