Marionettes bow to his expertise

Marionettes bow to his expertise

His name is loved by every kid in India beacuse he gives structure to their fantasies in the form of puppets. The man behind Ishara Puppet Theatre, Dadi Pudumjee’s name is synonymous with puppetry.

not so mute Dadi Pudumjee with one of his creations.Metrolife caught the expert puppeteer who is all set to celebrate the spirit of Dance on the occassion of World Dance Day at NSD’s Abhimanch.

Decades ago he developed a hobby for puppetry while studying in college, “Puppetry started as a hobby in Pune when as a child I was given two string puppets which started the whole affair. The hobby developed when in 1971, I went to Ahmedabad to study at National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad where I was also a part of the puppet section of Darpana Academy of Performing Arts.”
But when he presented a puppet show at ISRO SAC, the urge to take up the art as profession became strong. “I took up Puppetry at the Swedish Marionette Theatre Institute in Stockholm.”

He “love to play with scales” and that too in collaboration with “the human body because the focus should not remain on just the puppet.” Inspired by his teachers, he loves “large figures that are exhibited in parades” in foreign countries.

As an artist, he has developed a niche for himself with not just awe inspiring puppets but also enthralling story telling and choreography. He emphasises, “Puppet-making as well as its presentation, both are extremely important. One can make a puppet in 5-10 minutes also but it won’t last long. Therefore the technical aspect is as important as the manipulation and product presentation.”

But this aspect, as per Dadi, can be taken care of if only there is “professional training in institutes” which is absent to a large extent as there are not many places to learn puppetry. “We are more concerned about other art forms such as dance and music which leaves us with hardly any accessibility in training for puppetry.”

There is “lots more to be done to nurture the many traditional styles and techniques which may soon disappear if not given attention.”

What is the need of the hour? “Workshops, training programmes, a puppet training institute are required and not just summer workshop as these workshops don’t work too long.” Even the use of puppetry in education is needed. “Puppetry is a great learning and expressing form for young persons and thus can be definitely introduced in schools” where kids can vent their creative fantasies.

And to promote Indian puppetry, “You need more national festivals, seminars and discussions with trained puppet artists,” who can conduct, “workshops and trainning programmes for young artists and are also able to see what is happening in other forms both traditional and modern.”

And who doesn’t feel good after a full house. Says the veteran, “Puppets don’t live without the puppeteer and audience.”

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