Have you ever gotten the opportunity to watch a puppet show?
For those of you who have, you cannot deny the excitement you feel at each move of that spectacularly dressed inanimate object infused with life.
“Puppetry gives you a kind of freedom. This is the only art form in the world where you could say anything about anybody through your puppet and nobody can reply or get offended because it is the puppet who is saying everything”
– Jose Gil
Owing to the PUN International Puppet Festival that has been spreading smiles around the City of Joy since the last 5 days, Kolkata had got its fair share of puppet shows at various places that have left people, irrespective of their age or gender, in awe of this beautiful art form.
Puppetry in West Bengal dates as early as the 14th century.
They are called Chadar Badar or Santhal puppetry. In an attempt to save the dying art of puppetry, West Bengal government had set up a puppetry museum showcasing the different forms of puppets and puppetry.
Talking about the struggle of survival of this art form, Sudip Gupta, one of the few Kolkata puppeteers, said “I am into puppetry since 1983. We have been organizing workshops all over Kolkata since many years and have got great response from people. Puppetry has its roots in Indian traditional culture and our puppetry is a mix of traditional as well as contemporary style and we want more people to participate in this art form and make the world see our talent in this art.”
Since Puppetry appeals to all, Puppeteers from around the globe have been invited to Kolkata to spread colours and smile into our beautiful city thereby reviving the lost glory and significance of puppetry in the State and increasing public awareness of the traditional art form.
“Puppetry is for everyone. It makes people happy and relieves their stress. We live in very stressful times and puppets can make people smile. You can make simple finger puppets and even that will keep people interested”
Here is what some of the Puppeteers from around the Globe have to say about this fun and lively art form
Puppets are an illusion and it takes a great deal of practice to make the puppets come alive before the audience. Speaking on this matter, Andrea Anna-Maria Schlemmer, the German Puppeteer said “I have been into puppetry since 1999. I go around the world showcasing my puppetry. Puppeteers around the world are connected by the fact that we all work for peace, love and to be happy.”
“Puppetry gives you a kind of freedom. This is the only art form in the world where you could say anything about anybody through your puppet and nobody can reply or get offended because it is the puppet who is saying everything. The puppets don’t complain, they don’t need food, drinks, nothing. They just exist for our entertainment. ” said Jose Gil, the Portuguese puppeteer.
“Puppetry is for everyone. It makes people happy and relieves their stress. We live in very stressful times and puppets can make people smile. You can make simple finger puppets and even that will keep people interested. I feel nice to make people smile as it is the best gift that we can give people through puppetry.” said the Singapore Puppeteer, Kenny.
John Lane, an author and puppeteer was the eldest puppeteer around and he was mentoring the Peru puppeteer Jose. He said “Books and puppetry have a lot in common. Many of Jose’s puppet characters are an adaptation from my children novels.”
In puppetry, each puppet has its own name, they are an individual being. The Brazilian puppeteer, Rodrigo Andrade said, “I have been into puppetry since the last 17yrs. My Puppets chose me to stay with them and so I could not leave. Now, through my puppetry I want to show the spirit of fun and revelry of Brazil. ”
If you haven’t yet witnessed the spectrum of vibrant colours that filled Kolkata with happiness, then ylu sure did miss out on something spectacular!
See you next time!