Calcutta Puppet Theatre comes to town

Calcutta Puppet Theatre comes to town

Kids' delight

Calcutta Puppet Theatre comes to town

Puppets probably never looked as endearing. Recently, the famous Calcutta Puppet Theatre brought its age-old show Icchapuran to Delhi.

A troupe of 11 artistes masterly moved three puppets – the central characters – filling in for the side roles and perfectly recreating the classic story by Guru Rabindranath Tagore - Icchapuran.

Calcutta Puppet Theatre is one of the most acclaimed puppetry groups of India. It started in 1973 and has over 15 productions and 4000 shows across the world under its belt. Its founder-director Suresh Dutta trained under Sergei Obratsov at the State Central Puppet Theatre, Moscow and is a recipient of the prestigious Sangeet Natak Akademi Award.
Speaking about Icchapuran, he informed Metrolife, “This is one of our more recent productions started only in 2011. But it has already become a favourite with our young audience thanks to Rabindranath’s simplicity of writing and inherent humour.”
“We play it every other week in one or the other part of the country and it is especially in demand during Durga Puja. However, we feel most happy to stage it for children of Naxalites in Chhattisgarh who invite us to entertain them.”

Icchapuran is an absolute delight for kids indeed. A 10-year old Sushil Chandra is the most mischievous child in his village climbing palm trees to get ‘baby birds’ and forever targeting Anto pishi’s water pitcher with pebbles. When his father Subal Chandra scolds him for having lozenges, he wishes he grows up to be his father’s age soon.
Unknown to anyone, Subal Chandra, tired of his joint pains, failing eyesight and falling teeth, has also been wishing to get his son’s age. One day, the Goddess of Wishes – a giant puppet which almost floats on the stage – appears in their dreams and grants them their wishes. Here begins all the trouble and confusion till both of them beg to be given back their original ages.

Icchapuran also magically recreates rural life in Bengal. After evening, Subal Chandra sits with his Ramayana in lantern light and reads out loudly. In the meanwhile, he also asks Sushil why he can’t hear him reading his lessons. Sushil, of course, can’t reply because his mouth is stuffed with mishti. The background score is also typical Bengali folk music.
The troupe also did an excellent job of handling the rod puppets, wearing black costumes and merging themselves with the black background. Wherever required, the other actors pitched in to play side characters.

No doubt, audience members were totally pleased. Shormesh Mukherjee, who saw the play with his eight-year-old son, exclaimed, “I am so happy we came here. All boys are naughty during their childhood but it is important they know the results of their acts. Calcutta Puppet Theatre has done a commendable job. I hope they stage their other plays in the city too.”