|Snippets of Information |
Theatre / Puppetry
* 28 Aug 2021
Tholpavakoothu (shadow leather puppetry) is a centuries-old art form from
Kerala acting out a story with leather puppets is preserved as a family
tradition by the Pulavars.
It is an ancient peculiar ritualistic art form dedicated to Bhagavati, worshiped by the people of Kerala as the Mother Goddess.
As a ritualistic art form, Tolpava Koothu is performed during the months
of January to May at the especially constructed theatre called Koothu
Madam in front of the Bhagavati temple.
- It is said to have originated in the 18th century is also known as pavakoothu (puppet play) or nizhalattam (shadow play).
- The puppets are fashioned out of the hides of buffaloes and deer, the former for evil characters and latter for noble ones.
- The puppet plays are based on selected verses from the famous Tamil
Epic 'Kamba Ramayana'. The language used is a dialect of Tamil with an
admixture of Sanskrit and Malayalam words.
- Ezhupara, a cylindrical drum made out of jack-fruit wood and covered
with calf-skin on both ends and Ilathalam (cymbals) are the main
accompaniments. Shankha (conch), Chenda and Maddalam (drums), Chengila
(gong) and Kurum-kuzhal (a short pipe) are further instruments to be
used on special occasions.
The logo of the International Film Festival of Kerala is that of a tholpavakoothu puppet.
"Tholpavakoothu in temples focusses on the rendering of The Ramayana
from Kamba Ramayanam. The tholpavakoothu performance at temples lasts
for 10 hours. It goes on for 21 days at the Devi temple in our village
in Koonathara, Shornur (Thrissur district)", says KK Ramachandra
Pulavar, recipient of the Padma Shri, who learnt the art from his father
late Krishnakutty Pulavar.
Source: KK Ramachandra Pulavar expands the scope of
'tholpavakoothu' by Saraswathy Nagarajan, The Hindu, Thiruvananthapuram,
Feb 22, 2021
* 21 Aug 2021
Kuchipudi Bhagavathamelam - dance theatre
The lives of Kuchipudi Bhagavathamelam essentially follow the Hindu
Sanatana Dharma, a way of living through which one may achieve moksha
(enlightenment, liberation) in right earnest. For the Bhagavathamelam,
dance is a divine approach to fulfill their samskaras and probably that
is the reason they are totally 'manasa', 'vacha' and 'karmane'
wholeheartedly into dance all through their lives with body, mind and
soul. The Kuchipudi Bhagavathamelam's life could be broad based into
five areas like the five elements of life, namely learn, perform, teach,
propagate and keep the traditions alive.
The deeds of Siddhendra Yogi is all too familiar to repeat but it would
augur well to know that until this day the Kuchipudi Bhagavathamelam
uphold their promise to him, that at least one son of the traditional
families of Kuchipudi village will pursue dance. As requested by him, at
least once in their life time they will don the female personification
role in 'his' famous creation, 'Bhama Kalapam' which he taught to the
Kuchipudi traditional families.
The traditional families of Kuchipudi art who form the Kuchipudi
Bhagavathamelam comprises namely the Bhagavatula, Bokka, Challa, Chinta,
Chitalapati, Darba, Hari, Josyula, Mahankali, Pasumarti, Pillala Marri,
Somayajulu, Taddepalli, Vedantam, Vempati and Yelleswarupu. They have
been and continue to be the torch bearers of the art form ensuring the
nativity of the dance traditions of Kuchipudi comprising of Samskrutha
roopakams, Kalapams, Yakshaganams, Kelikas; solos are not compromised
and the same is preserved for posterity.
Source: Kuchipudi Bhagavathamelam: A rich cultural heritage by Tadepalli Satyanarayana, narthaki.com
* 21 Aug 2021
Kalasutri Bahuliya - puppetry art of Maharashtra
Kalasutri Bahuliya has its origin in 1600 A.D. Also known as Zaiti, it
is a Marathi folk form, immensely popular till the twentieth century -
'Kal' meaning forefingers of human hand, 'Sutri' meaning black thread
and 'Bahuliya' meaning puppets. This is a small wooden puppet with
moveable arms and shoulder joints.
Kalasutri string puppets came from the Rajasthan-Gujarat area to
Maharashtra and were given patronage by the rulers of Sawantwadi. The
town of Sindhudurg known as the puppetry village has been home for
praramparik kalakars or traditional folk artists from mid-eighteenth
The puppets are carved from the lightwood of pangara that is the coral
tree. The themes presented in a Kalasutri Bahuliya theatre are usually
based on two epics, Ramayana and Mahabharata. The scenes from Krishna
Puran are also performed, most common being the Dashavataram and
Bhagawad Gita Upadesham. It is always performed with live folk music.
Source: Kalasutri Bahuliya: A dying puppetry art of Maharashtra by Charanya Gurusathya, narthaki.com