Puppetry is universal: Viswanatha Pulavar

Renowned puppeteer Viswanatha Pulavar said on Friday that those who refuse to acknowledge what is being said, no matter how significant the matter may be, listens to the same with full focus when it is told through puppets via movements and expressions.
“This is the universal relevance of puppetry as an art form,” said Pulavar.
The puppeteer was giving an introductory talk at the three-day workshop on ‘Tholpavakoothu’ (shadow puppet play), highlighting the various tricks involved in the art form, at the ongoing Kochi Biennale here.
Pulavar hails from a lineage that has practised puppetry for 13 successive generations, and every member of his family is currently active in the field.
His wife Pushpalatha, son Vipin and daughter-in-law Ramya are also conducting training sessions at the workshop alongside Pulavar.
“The workshop aims to enrich creativity in people regardless of age through Tholpavakoothu. Training will be given on the different steps involved in the art form, beginning with drawing the images on paper, then copying them into the puppet skin, readying the script, and then finally presenting it,” said Pulavar.
Stating that earlier deerskin was used to make puppets, Pulavar said, “With the ban on deer hunting coming into effect, puppets are now made using goat and bull skin. Artworks will be depicted on such animal skins after cutting and shaping them to suit various characters with great precision, even on the most minute elements. In the world of puppet play, most artworks are used in puppets belonging to the Kerala tradition.
“Puppet plays are used a lot in the field of education in foreign countries,” added Pulavar, who has presented plays using leather puppets in 32 different countries.
“Puppet plays help in eliminating classroom boredom, make things easier to understand, and help in nurturing creativity. They are also the most practical medium for creating awareness against intoxicants,” Pulavar said. (IANS)

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