Puppets are telling their story again

Arts & Culture City

With the help of a few master puppeteers, the dying art of puppetry is slowly coming back to life in Bangalore and across the state.

Bangalore, Mar 13, 2018: The art form of puppetry which had been lying dormant for a long time is making a come-back, thanks to a few master puppeteers in the city.

Anupama Hoskere, founder of Dhaatu puppets, a non-profit organization said, “Puppetry in India is at least 4000 years old. Puppetry is continuously changing. But there is no death, it will not die, it’s just that the comparative numbers have to increase.”

When Hoskere came to India a couple of decades ago, the art of puppetry, though still alive wasn’t as active as it is now. She believes that making this ancient art form more inclusive with the modern times will help it from becoming “museumised”.

There are people in the city who are now willingly learning the ropes of a master puppeteer, one who can craft puppets, script shows, create music and dance, and are performing across the city with an ever increasing and more curious audience.

Case in point, Aarti Kathpalia, puppeteer and founder of Tickles and Tales who said, “The art of puppetry was dying but not anymore. I see a lot of scope of the art coming back and as a puppeteer I feel the impact of puppets and storytelling helps bringing out a child’s creativity and imagination at its best.”

“If we take the changing scenario of art, it is true that puppetry is going through stagnation. With the social changes in India, that is post independence, migration from rural to urban, coming of electronic media like TV, and then cinema becoming more accessible, all of this made the people ignore puppetry because puppetry is hard, it is difficult to do, it’s tough to get a team to perform it live, there is so much required, yet puppetry is resilient and I see a lot of scope for this art,” said Hoskere.

Another puppeteer, Preetha, one of the founders of Imaginostory said, “We have faith in the future of puppetry. Bangalore has numerous storytellers and institutes who have done a fabulous job in making the various formats of puppetry accessible to the public. We play a small and active part in this initiative.”

“When you don’t teach and when you don’t discuss, you don’t grow. There are some people who just kept the art to themselves. They just retain it after learning it thoroughly. But we bring urban puppeteers, rural puppeteers, and international puppeteers on one platform. So they can learn from each other,” said Hoskere who is organising a “Puppet Santhe” festival in May this year.