Whoever in India has not seen Rajasthani puppeteers wearing colorful who make their Kath putlis dance and execute action right in front of the band of fascinated children (and adults)? Indeed puppetry is one of the most ancient skilled are forms in this land and virtually exists in all states. The puppets are animated objects that perform like characters in theatre and often much more. Especially for children it is willing suspension of disbelief and thereafter huge enjoyment of the antics and frolics of the puppets performing and enacting stories right before their eyes.
In fact all puppets enact stories even if in rudimentary forms at times. Myths and legends come alive in the stories narrate here. Animals perform likeable characters. Flowers and plants converse fold tales re-create their milieu fairies float in and out. Superstitions are taken by the harms in moral tales. Toothbrushes and combs traipse through strange tricks. Ghosts just come alive and have great fun. And aliens descend to earth to share secrets with kids.
And it is primarily the kids (and adult who hold their belied in kids) who are most likely to have a rollicking time with animated puppets. This book tells that here are many more puppets then only the Rajasthan Kath Putlis and they can do myriad things that are written about in these pages so go ahead and have fun!.
Sampa Ghosh joined Calcutta Puppet under Suresh Dutta in 1980. She received scholarship form min. of culture Govt. of India for puppetry in 1982-85 and participated more than 2000 shows all over India and Bangladesh as a member of CPT. She worked at SRC puppet repertory as its director in 1986-87 and directed four puppet plays which proved very popular. She participated in Indiana manifestation festival in Sweden in 1987 as the group leader performing 42 shows all over Sweden. She conducted many puppet workshops in India and Canada especially for children and teacher. She also directed two children productions and lec-dem on Indian puppets under the aegis of Kala Bharati in Montreal. Her book make your own puppets and Indian puppets with Utpal K. Banerjee has been highly appreciated.
Dr. Utpal K. Banerjee is an adviser on management and information Technology for nearly thirty years after having studied on a doctoral programme in the U.K. He has a abiding interest in Indian art and culture. His formal exposure to visual and performing arts of the world has been through courses conducted at extra mural department. University of Manchester. He has been national project director for Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA). In the nineties he has been utilized by Indian Council for cultural Relations to lecture on Indian Art and culture in Canada in 1990 and in South American in 1998. he has given lectures on Indian art and culture for the IFS probationers and in the foreign service institute to the Afro Asian diplomats. His article on role of cultural diplomacy appeared in the prestigious tow volume work Indian foreign policy agenda for the 21st century from FSI. His latest contribution on Ruled by the religion has been included in the magnum opus Spectacular India published from the USA in 2000.
Puppetry is a highly ancient art form haloed in Indian traditions and practiced since the old time by the village communities both for entertainment purpose. Nearest to theatre puppetry can enliven situations that are denied to there arts forms. For children it remains one of the most trusted mean of entertainment as they can easily suspend disbelief and get delightfully swayed by the action gestures of the puppets playing in fronts of them. Precisely for the same reason puppetry can be used for teaching them lessons on morals and for the very young codes of behavior.
In the first part of the book puppets are introduced along with a short history. Basically there are four classes of traditional puppets glove, rod, string, and shadow (colored and black and white). The art of puppetry is remarkably will disturbed to Southeast Asia. Contemporary Indian puppets are a comparatively recent urban phenomenon and can assume many innovative hues and colors in the hands of professional artists. Indian tribal puppets are covered too. Sans manipulation puppets are inanimate objects but matriculation by trained puppeteers infuses life into them. Surprisingly even children can learn fast to manipulate puppets and hugely enjoy the process!
Considerable light is thrown on production plays including scripts voice modulation stagecraft scenery sets properties special effects and music and last but not the least story telling. Indeed in story telling that is the raison d’etre for puppetry!
In the second part as many as thirty two stories are offered for being told through puppetry. It must be emphasized here that these stories are structured in such a way that an ingenious puppeteer can add new characters and modify text at will according to exigencies of the situation. The stories begin with those told without words as they are easiest (and often the funniest) to execute and can accept any amount of additional frills! Then fellow the myths and legends animal stories nature stories folk tales fairy tales; moral tales; behavioral tales; some delightful ghost stories and children centric science fiction. The types of puppets stage props, music etc. mentioned with each story are only indicative in nature and can be changed during performance if need be.
The authors are thankful for many suggestions photographs received to illustrate the text. They would be particularly gratified if the book almost a first of its kind in India is of use to the masses of school in India. Where teacher desperately need basic knowledge as well as story material for teaching and staging puppetry.
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