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Forms of Puppetry in India

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Different forms of Indian puppetry

Bombeyatta, Karnataka and Kasaragod, Kerala:

The puppet show, using string and rod puppets, is a parallel tradition of Yakshagana, the classical dance-drama. The puppets, usually made of wood, resemble the Yakshagana performers in costumes and ornamentation.

Bommalata, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana:

This shadow puppet theatre has various entertainers perform all night, usually re-enacting various stories from Hindu epics like the Ramayana and Mahabharata.

Pavakoothu, Kerala:

This traditional glove puppet play came into existence due to the influence of Kathakali on puppet performances. The face of the puppets is decorated with paints, small and thin pieces of gilded tin, the feathers of the peacock, etc.

Bommalattam, Tamil Nadu:

These puppets combine the techniques of both rod and string puppets. They are made of wood and the strings for manipulation are tied to an iron ring which the puppeteer wears like a crown on his head. A few puppets have jointed arms and hands, which are manipulated by rods.

Kundhei, Orissa:

The string puppets are made of light wood have no legs but wear long flowing skirts. They have more joints and are, therefore, more versatile, articulate and easy to manipulate. The costumes resemble those worn by actors of the Jatra traditional theatre.

Ravana Chhaya, Orissa: 

In this form, the puppets are in one piece and have no joints. They are not coloured, hence throw opaque shadows on the screen. The manipulation requires great dexterity, since there are no joints. Apart from human and animal characters, many props such as trees, mountains, chariots, etc. are also used.

Putul Nach, West Bengal:

In this traditional rod puppet form, the puppets are carved from wood and follow the various artistic styles of a particular region. These puppets have mostly three joints. The head, supported by the main rod, is joined at the neck and both hands attached to rods are joined at the shoulders.

Khatputli, Rajasthan:

These traditional marionettes are carved from a single piece of wood and are like large dolls that are colourfully dressed. Their costumes and headgears are designed in the medieval Rajasthani style of dress. Oval faces, large eyes, arched eyebrows, and large lips are some of the distinct facial features of these string puppets.

source: the HINDU

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