Indian Puppetry, Types & Putul Nautch for West Bengal PSC

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Indian Puppetry

  • A form of theatre or performance involving manipulation of puppets.

  • The process of animating inanimate performing objects.

  • Used both as entertainment in performance and ceremonially in rituals and celebrations such as carnivals.

  • Originating in India years ago, where the main character in Sanskrit plays was known as “Sutradhara”, and “the holder of strings”.

Types of Puppetry

Image of Types of puppetry

Image of Types of Puppetry

Image of Types of puppetry

String Puppetry

Image of String Puppetry

Image of String Puppetry

Image of String Puppetry

  • Jointed body and limbs that allow movement.

  • Made of wood, or wire, or cloth stuffed with cotton, rags, or saw dust and are usually small.

  • Manipulated by operating the control as well as by loosening or pulling the relevant string

  • Regional variations:

  • Andhra Pradesh (Koyya Bommalata), Assam (Putala Nach),

  • Karnataka (Sutrada Gombeyata), Maharashtra (Kalasutri Bahulya),

  • Rajasthan (Kathputli),

  • Orissa (Gopalila),

  • Tamil Nadu (Bommalatam) and West Bengal (Tarer or Sutor Putul)

Shadow Puppetry

Image of Shadow Puppetry

Image of Shadow Puppetry

Image of Shadow Puppetry

  • Flat figures cut out of leather, treated to make it translucent.

  • Pressed against the screen with a strong source of light behind it.

  • The manipulation between the light and the screen make silhouettes or colourful shadows, as the case may be, for the viewers who sit in front of the screen.

  • Prevalent in Orissa. Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, and Tamil Nadu.

  • Tholu Bommalata, Andhra Pradesh

  • Large in size and have jointed waist, shoulders, elbows, and knees.

  • The classical music of the region Coloured on both sides. Hence, throw coloured shadows on the screen.

Ravana Chhaya, Orissa

Image of Ravana Chhaya

Image of Ravana Chhaya

Image of Ravana Chhaya

  • Small and are in one piece with no joints.

  • Made of deerskin and are conceived in bold dramatic poses.

  • Not coloured, hence throw opaque shadows on the screen

  • Apart from human and animal characters, many props such as trees, mountains, chariots, etc also used.

Glove Puppetry

Image of Glove Puppetry

Image of Glove Puppetry

Image of Glove Puppetry

  • The head is made of papier mache, cloth, or wood, with two hands emerging from just below the neck.

  • The rest of the figure consists of a long flowing skirt.

  • The movements are controlled by the human hand the first finger inserted in the head and the middle finger and the thumb are the two arms of the puppet.

  • Popular in Uttar Pradesh, Orissa, West Bengal and Kerala.

  • Dilogues play an important role

Rod Puppetry

Image of Rod Puppetry

Image of Rod Puppetry

Image of Rod Puppetry

  • Extension of glove puppets, but often much larger, supported, and manipulated by rods from below.

  • Found mostly in West Bengal and Orissa

Putul Nautch, West Bengal

Image of Putul Nautch

Image of Putul Nautch

Image of Putul Nautch

  • costumed like the actors of Jatra, a traditional theatre

  • Carved from wood and follow the various artistic styles of a particular region.

  • Used to be of human size, but existing puppets vary from 3 to 4 feet in height

  • Music of Jatra theatre (drum, harmonium and cymbals)

  • Puppeteers themselves sing and deliver the stylized prose dialogues along with a group of musicians

  • Manipulated by a bamboo made hub tied firmly to the waist of the puppeteer on which the rod holding the puppet is placed.

  • Puppeteers move and dance imparting movements to puppets.