Puppetry is an ancient and popular form of folk entertainment. India has a composite and rich heritage in puppetry. Puppetry in considered as the most expressive of all theatrical forms. In India, puppet troupes are found in states like Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Kerala and Karnataka. In Rajasthan, the paper puppets and string puppets are popular. Andhra is famous for Shadow puppets. Puppets have been a versatile means of artistic expression, communication and instruction for 2,000 years. Working the edge between entertainment and education, puppets can both teach and persuade. Their creative potential is just waiting to be used to help communities grow and change.
There are various types of puppetry shows in India. Some are glove puppets, some are rod puppets, some puppetry shows use string and rod puppets and last but not the least is the shadow puppets. Puppetry shows generally depict different episodes from the famous Indian epics of The Ramayana and The Mahabharata. Puppetry is more popular as a rural folk art than it is in urban areas however nowadays puppetry is getting its due recognition in the cities too. Since puppets are characters and not people puppet shows can be used to spread social message on sensitive issues like family planning, and female literacy.
Puppetry in Rajasthan
The puppets in Rajasthan are one of the popular sources of entertainment in the state. The art of puppetry is practiced by a community of agricultural laborers of Rajasthan. Known as the Bhats, these people have been associated with Rajasthani string puppetry to carry forward their traditional occupation. Though they belong, originally, to the Nagaur area in the Marwar region, they travel all through the countryside to exhibit their skills. Also known by the name of the “kathputliwalas”, they usually perform the puppet shows during the late evenings.
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