Puppetry is a highly developed ancient art form haloed in Indian traditions ad practised since the olden times by the village communities: both for entertainment ad for educational purposes. Nearest to theatre, puppetry can enliven situations that are denied to other art forms. For children, it remains oe of the most trusted means of entertainment, as they can easily suspend disbelief and get delightfully swayed by the actions and gestures of the puppets: playing in front of them. Precisely for the same reason, puppetry can be used for teaching them lessons on morals and, for the very young, codes of behaviour.
In the first part of the book, puppets are introduced along with a short history. Basically, there are four classes of traditions puppets: glove, rod, string and shadow (coloured and black-and-white). The art of puppetry is remarkably well-distributed in the North and the South, and indeed there are reasons to believe that the art travelled from the Indian coasts all the way to Southeast Asia. Contemporary Indian puppets are a comparatively recent urban phenomenon and can assume many innovative hues and colours in the hands of professional artists. Indian tribal puppets are covered, too. Sans manipulation, puppets are inanimate objects, but articulation 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 of puppet plays, - including scripts, voice modulation, stagecraft, scenery, sects, properties, special effects, dance ad music, lighting and, last but not the least, story-telling. Indeed it is story-telling that is the raison d'etre for puppetry!
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 kid in India - is of use to the masses of school children in India, where teachers desperately need basic knowledge as well as story-material for teaching and staging puppetry.
North Indian Music (290)
Original Texts (60)
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