Timeless tales from yore

Waning popularity

Timeless tales from yore

Those belonging to an era gone by would certainly connect to the world of puppets and puppet shows. Those beautiful, decorated figures that told simple stories in an engaging manner caught the fancy of many and still continue to do so for quite a few.

But in an era when the virtual world has taken over nearly every aspect of one’s life, do puppets still hold the same charm as they did back then?

Says Dimple Mittal, an architect, “As a child, I watched lots of puppet shows and would also like to take my children for them today but sadly, one doesn’t find many of them being organised these days. Earlier, there would be a stall for a puppet show at almost all ‘melas’. Now we see these only at specific places in the city. Or it’s restricted to birthday parties. If events in the neighbouring communities hold something like this, then kids would love to see it. Even if money is charged, it will be popular for it’s a priceless treasure, something more delightful compared to watching a movie.”

Dimple mentions that the last puppet show she watched was around 10 years ago at a private event in the city. Choreographer Poornima, who runs a dance school called ‘Kalasindhu’, feels that the art has definitely not lost its charm and its relevance still remains and that only the context of presentation has changed.

“The few puppeteers in the city draw their inspiration from traditional themes, from mythology and epics, whose essence is timeless. The truth contained in these holds even now. Each time you watch such a show, you can take back new things from it. Also, there have been many socially relevant changes and as an art, puppetry has been able to adapt to these. Just that now it is presented on a bigger stage and to an urban audience.”

Varadaraj expresses that the charm of puppet shows is unbeatable but the propagation is less and not intense which is why people’s interest in the art is waning.

“There aren’t enough shows organised by the government, private artists or even art galleries. People these days aren’t even aware of the various forms of puppetry. Greater initiative should be taken to restore the art and popularise it.”

As Anupama Hoskere of ‘Dhaatu’ states, “We live in a virtual world which makes it all the more valuable to have some reality. It’s important to connect to each other and ourselves and bond with human beings. In the realm of performing arts, puppetry is the easiest communicating art. Through such a medium, you understand and connect and the happiness quotient is higher. In today’s fast-paced urban society, I feel such arts are required for well-balanced growth.”

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