Once upon a string | Cover Story | Times Crest
Popular on Times Crest
  • In This Section
  • Entire Website
  • The sacred club creed
    July 13, 2013
    Clubs are the new cathedrals of absolute authority. Watch how obsessively antiquated rules are observed.
  • Fun and games
    July 13, 2013
    Bombay Gymkhana first opened its doors strictly to moneyed Britishers.
  • Still happening
    July 13, 2013
    The govt last year extended the club's lease up to 2050.
More in this Section
Leaving tiger watching to raise rice Ecologist Debal Deb, who did his post-doctoral research from IISc in…
The crorepati writer He's the man who gives Big B his lines. RD Tailang, the writer of KBC.
Chennai-Toronto express Review Raja is a Canadian enthusiast whose quirky video reviews of Tamil…
Don't parrot, perform Maestro Buddhadev Dasgupta will hold a masterclass on ragas.
A man's man Shivananda Khan spent his life speaking up for men who have sex with men.
Bhowmick and the first family of Indian football At first glance, it would be the craziest set-up in professional football.
From Times Blogs
The end of Detroit
Jobs in Detroit's car factories are moving to India.
Chidanand Rajghatta
How I love the word ‘dobaara’...
Can ‘bindaas’ or ‘jhakaas’ survive transliteration?
Shobhaa De
Anand marte nahin...
India's first superstar died almost a lonely life.
Robin Roy
Fun-filled act

Once upon a string


MONSTER MOM: 'Barnada's Backstage', based on a Lorca play, is a tribute to all those who fight and succeed in their attempts to lead a free life

Who says puppet shows are only for children?" asks Puran Bhatt. "Look at me, my puppets speak to me and often, in moments of crisis, even show me a way out. " The 58-year-old puppeteer belongs to a tribe of Rajasthani gypsies who once made a living by staging puppet shows, kathputli-ka naach.

It's the spiritual connection between man and his marionettes that will be evident at Dadi Pudumjee's forthcoming Ishara Puppet Theatre Festival. In its eleventh year now, the group has showcased over 90 international puppet shows from across the world. "This year, the emphasis will be on non-verbal shows, " says the Padma Shri awardee mentioning Portugal's The Pier is Alive (Cais Vivo) that uses poetry, music, dance, animations and optical illusions, and Nonso and Nonsa from Italy that, like Charlie Chaplin's silent films, consists of short poetic sketches full of visual humour, comic timing and explanatory signs. 

The festival offering both modern and traditional forms of rod, string and shadow puppets includes 10 performances, seven from abroad and three from India. "Other than children, this festival has stories for teenagers as well as adults, " says Pudumjee referring to his act based on the 18th-century Punjabi poet Waris Shah's Kitab-e-Ishq about the tragic lovers Heer and Ranjha. "But there's more to this story - it also focuses on issues that are as relevant today as they were 300 years ago. " Pudumjee is talking about the status of women in society, honour killings and the caste system. "All such anomalies that remain unchanged even in the 21st century, " he rues.

Another act mirroring the fight against repression will be highlighted in Bernarda's Backstage, based on Federico García Lorca’s play, The House of Bernarda Alba. Set in Spain of the 1940s, it's about Adela and her sisters who've been kept like prisoners in their own home by their dictatorial mother Bernarda. "This show is a tribute to all those who fight and succeed in their attempt to lead a free life, " says Paloma Banderas. She is a cinematographer who uses puppetry, dance and video to bring Lorca's work alive. "Besides images being projected over some elements, we have the projectionist and video projectors on the stage as well - they not just add new magical dimensions to the play but are also part of the manipulation process, " she says.

Desislava Mincheva, dancer and professional puppet actress, who took part in last year's festival with Chick with a Trick, is presenting Garbage for Plums this time. This Bulgarian folk tale is about a man who goes from village to village looking for a wife. In his effort to find the perfect partner, he decides to exchange garbage from people's homes for plums. Finally, he chooses a wife who does not have any garbage in her house. "The idea is to give present-day audiences a taste of traditional Bulgarian values, "smiles Mincheva. "Traditions are not for museums, but are meant to continue because they are a core of human values that sometimes we, in today's world, might forget. "

Masha And The Bear is a "fun-filled Russian act" about a little girl held prisoner in the forest by a ferocious bear. There's The Cubes Circus from Israel that takes its inspiration from Cubism, the art movement of the early 20th century, sculpture, the Bauhaus dance theatre and Tsafuf, a popular book for children. It's a world that lets your imagination run wild with clowns and dancers who create magic by transforming cubes into different animals and objects.
A group of eight actors from Iran will present A Musician Who Played The Moon, based on a popular Russian legend. This act is about a lonely musician who, when he plays to the moon's reflection in the river, is invited by the king of the sea to perform in his underwater palace. "Every time the theatre from Iran comes up with a beautiful surprise, " smiles Pudumjee. "You know, the country has two universities teaching puppetry - we don't have even one here - and Iran has the largest number of members in UNIMA. " The ace puppeteer is referring to the French body, Union Internationale de la Marionnette, of which he is the president, the first non-European to hold the position in the organisation's 80-year-old history.
India's traditional forms of puppetry will come alive in the shadow-puppet theatre from Odisha, Ravan Chaya, based on the epic Ramayana. "The whole effect with black-and-white shadows is amazing, " says Pudumjee. "What's significant is that this is the only surviving group pursuing this form of theatre in the state. " And then, of course, there is Puran Bhatt's Dhola Maru, an ancient legend about the separation of a young couple and their subsequent reunion. "Traditionally, our puppeteers, who stood behind charpoys, were not seen by the audience, " says Bhatt. "But this time, we decided to add something new and let them come onto the stage - the idea being to let people see the relationship between the puppets and the puppeteers. "
Also part of the festival is a two-day seminar on the subject, 'Traditional and Modern Puppetry: Issues in contemporary expressions and practices'.

The festival will be on from April 8-16
at Delhi's IHC, Gurgaon's
Epicentre and Club Patio, and the
Tagore Theatre in Chandigarh

Other Times Group news sites
The Times of India | The Economic Times
इकनॉमिक टाइम्स | ઈકોનોમિક ટાઈમ્સ
Mumbai Mirror | Times Now
Indiatimes | नवभारत टाइम्स
महाराष्ट्र टाइम्स
Living and entertainment
Timescity | iDiva | Bollywood | Zoom
| Technoholik | MensXP.com


itimes | Dating & Chat | Email
Hot on the Web
Book print ads | Online shopping | Business solutions | Book domains | Web hosting
Business email | Free SMS | Free email | Website design | CRM | Tenders | Remit
Cheap air tickets | Matrimonial | Ringtones | Astrology | Jobs | Property | Buy car
Online Deals
About us | Advertise with us | Terms of Use and Grievance Redressal Policy | Privacy policy | Feedback
Copyright© 2010 Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. All rights reserved. For reprint rights: Times Syndication Service