Puppeteers add colours to the fair

Traditional

Evenings at 32nd India International Trade Fair at Pragati Maidan are turning out to be full of gala and gaiety.

Many cultural activities like street plays, ghazals and qawwalis, classical dance, instrumental and vocal music and above all state day celebrations are conducted each day to entertain the audience. Beside these, what has been attracting the onlookers is the puppet show.  

On the beats of dholak and music of harmonium, a puppet named ‘Rathore’ appears on the small canopy. He sings dances and juggles while apprising the audience his name. Giving visual and acoustic delight to the audience, the puppets performs a belly dance and performs on Bollywood songs.

With young kids sitting in the front, keenly watching every movement of the show, what comes as a surprise is a puppet dancing without his head. The belly dance by the puppet on the bamboo whistle entertains the audience. Thereafter, appears a Rajasthani king with sword in a hand and dancing on Chalo na naino se baan re.  Then on a typical Rajasthani song, a bride appears dancing with her groom. A snake charmer is also introduced who dances along with the snake.

Sitting behind the screen is Ramesh Bhatt’s son Pappu, who pulls and shakes the strings and the puppet moves.  During the twenty minutes show, Ramesh Bhatt speaks in different voices and nearly five to six puppets are introduced one after the other. To make it alive, Manohri Bhatt sings traditional Rajasthani songs along with her fellows on dholak and harmonium while Pappu uses a bamboo whistle to create different sound effects.

Hailing from Rajasthan, Bhatt family are the traditional puppeteers who are preserving their age old art by performing at festivals and handicrafts bazaars. The entire Bhatt family are a part of trade fair this year and are happy that they have received a good response too. “Puppet shows are no more a popular entertainment but we have received a good response from general visitors. Many times people have asked us to repeat the performance. This really makes us feel good,” says Pappu.

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