The Goan Theatrical Odyssey of Avdhut and Gauri Kamat


Avdhut K. Kamat’s journey in the realm of drama and acting began in his childhood. His natural inclination towards the stage was nurtured by his teachers, who encouraged him to participate in various events, helping him view the stage as a second home. His first notable achievement in acting came during his secondary school years, where he performed in a Hindi one-act play, “Zut Ki Alarm,” at a school gathering. This debut performance earned him an award in the best acting category. Reflecting on those days, Avdhut says, “The stage has always felt like my own territory. After ‘Zut Ki Alarm’, there was no turning back. I’ve been blessed with the ability to handle any situation on stage with quick thinking and no stage fear.”

Avdhut says, “The stage has always felt like my own territory. After ‘Zut Ki Alarm’, there was no turning back. I’ve been blessed with the ability to handle any situation on stage with quick thinking and no stage fear.

Throughout his school years, teachers like Vishwambhar Gaonkar, Sakharam Velgekar, Ganesh Borker, and Ashok Kamat played pivotal roles as his mentors, instilling confidence and belief in his talents. This continued into his college years at Chowgule College in Margao, where he was under the tutelage of Sir Katker and Laxman Sardesai. It was here that Avdhut broadened his horizons, participating in intercollegiate one-act play competitions. This led to his eventual service at Goa Vidhyaprasarak Mandal’s Higher Secondary School in Ponda, where he connected with like-minded individuals passionate about Dramatics.


Avdhut’s directorial debut came with “Mahadwar,” a one-act play penned by Dilip Pardeshi, which he directed alongside his students. The play was a success, securing second place, and Avdhut received accolades for his outstanding direction and acting. His talents were recognized by one of the judges, Shri. Madhukar Joshi, who recommended him for a drama at a Kala Academy Competition. This opportunity marked Avdhut’s entry into Professional Drama with “Kali Ekda Fulali Hoti,”  (image 1 and 2) where he also met Gauri, who would later become his wife, marking a significant milestone in both his personal and professional life. However, a subsequent rule change by Kala Academy, barring educational institutions from participating in competitions, posed a challenge. Nevertheless, with strong family and friend support, Avdhut navigated this hurdle, leading to greater opportunities.


Late Prakash Thali, a renowned writer, director, and actor, was invited to Goa during this period and formed an affiliation with Kamat and company. Their collaboration and the enthusiasm of drama aficionados led to the formation of “Pratibha Friends Circle.” Under this banner, they staged “Asach Ani Itkach,” which was well-received and led to opportunities to perform in Pune. The following year, under the banner of “Pandav Wada Yuvak Sangh,” they won a competition with “Dwamb Dwipacha Mukabla.”  (image 3) However, due to participation issues, the group eventually formed their own drama club, “Vardambika Kala Sangh,” (image 4) registering it officially. This was a turning point for Avdhut, marking the beginning of a significant phase in his acting and directing career.

However, the group faced a challenge when Neena Usgaunker (later Mrs. Gauri Kamat) could not participate for several years due to educational commitments, necessitating collaboration with other female actors from 1982 to 1992.

In 1992, Gauri resumed her acting career under the direction of Dilip Dessai, a renowned director in the field of farcical dramas. Their first drama after this hiatus, “Shantecha Karta chalu Aahe,” received an overwhelming response and numerous awards in all categories. It was a remarkable success, presented in over 50 shows across Goa, Pune, and Delhi. The following year, “Pala Pala Kon Pudhe Pale to,” performed by the same group, again received awards and opportunities for staging in Bombay and over 30 shows across India.

Tragedy struck in November 1994 when Avdhut met with an accident that affected his speech and compelled him to step back from major acting roles. Gauri reflects, “I continued my acting career and helped him maintain his connection with the stage. During this time, he focused on directing and began writing scripts in Marathi and Konkani.” One of his scripts, “Uduni Ja Pakhara,” was awarded for the best script in the Kala Academy competition. Currently, Avdhut is fully devoted to the development of “Vardambika Kala Sangh,” with the support of his family, including his wife Gauri, son Prasanna, daughter-in-law Ankita, grandson Divyank, and daughter Pradnya.

“Since childhood, my passion for oratory and drama has shaped my life, leading me to this amazing world of expression. It’s through this field that I met my wife. Our marriage in 1986 (image 5 and 6) was a milestone in this theatrical journey,” Avdhut says with a smile. His career isn’t limited to acting, directing, and scriptwriting; he also holds an M.A. degree in History and has had a prolific teaching career. He served as the Principal at GVM higher secondary and is currently associated with Sanjeevan as the Acting Principal of Hr. Sec. School. He also enjoys his roles as a husband, father, and grandfather.

Gauri, sharing a similar passion for the stage, began her journey with folk-dance competitions and school plays. “I was always commended for my expressive facial movements and timing,” she recalls. Her first major acting opportunity came with the three-act drama “Kali Ekda Fulali Hoti,” directed by Madhukar Joshi. Gauri’s acting career has been marked by dynamic roles in mythological, historical, and musical dramas, representing various clubs and banners including Nagesh Mahalakshmi, Antruz Lalitak, Samrat club Margao, and Rajiv Gandhi Kala mandir, among others. Most of her acting career awards, however, were won with “Vardambika Kala Sangh,” the brainchild of Gauri and Avdhut.

Despite societal challenges, Gauri overcame obstacles in her acting career, which was not widely respected for women when she began. Her journey was supported first by her parents and then by her husband and family, contributing to her achievements in drama and cinema. “I could continue my career even after marriage, thanks to the unwavering support of my husband and family. Being in the same field, Avdhut always encouraged me to accept significant roles, and Vardambika consistently selected scripts with me in mind for the lead female role, which became a key factor in my success,” says Gauri.

When the film movement began in Goa, Gauri’s acting skills were well-recognized, leading to direct offers for roles, initially in supporting capacities but eventually in lead roles, to which she brought justice. She has acted in 14 films in various languages, including “Aleesha” (2004), “Suring” (2016), “Questao De Cofusao” (2018), “Hanv Tum Tum Hanv” (2016), “Juje” (2017), and “Enemy” (2015). Avdhut’s contributions to films have been minimal but impactful, including roles in “Aaba Aiktaay Na?” (2017), a National Award-winning short film, and others such as “Aleesha” (2004) and “Suring” (2016). “Representing Goan Cinema is a privilege. Goa is a land rich in art and culture, and I am honored to contribute to its legacy,” says Gauri. (image 7,8 and 9)

Mr. Avdhut Kamat and Mrs. Gauri Avdhut Kamat have made significant contributions to Konkani and Marathi dramas and films over many decades, primarily in and around Goa. Avdhut K. Kamat has acted in about 40 dramas in Konkani and Marathi, presented at various competitions in Goa, Maharashtra, Mangalore, and Delhi. Gauri has acted in more than 40 Marathi and 15 Konkani dramas to date. Their talents have been recognized with numerous awards, including the Rangsanman award by Kala Academy, Government of Goa, among others.

Both Mr. and Mrs. Gauri Kamat remain deeply engaged in theatre, drama, and films, and their family legacy is being carried forward by their talented children, Pradnya Kamat and Prasanna Kamat. “Acting runs in our blood. It is a part of me, a part of Gauri, and now a part of our children. They are carrying forward this legacy, making us immensely proud,” says Avdhut.

Text: Manashri Pai Dukle
Image Contributions: Pradnya and Prasanna Kamat

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