Puppetry is an old art form which is performed world over in a variety of traditions. There are various forms of it which have developed over centuries across civilisations.
And it is still prevalent today. Ratnamala Nori of Nori Art and Puppetry Centre does not consider puppetry to be a dying art instead that it is returning in a contemporary form through different ways.
“People are taking it in a new way," she says. Like theatre, there is a lot of preparation in the art of puppetry. Lucharam, an adaptation from the Panchatantra, was performed by her troupe to mark the World Puppetry Day. The stage was set with characters. The narration, music and lights gave the audience an experience to remember. It was a treat to watch the story of Lucharam unfold on stage with suspense and excitement.
Ratnamala believes that puppetry is a performing art and she stresses that it could be used in the field of education to teach children.
In fact she has earlier done puppetry shows to support literacy, adult education, health and hygiene, and environmental issues. Also organisations like UNDP have worked with her on various themes of awareness.
Ms. Nori says that they have been celebrating World Puppetry Day for the last five years and she believes that more awareness needs to be spread about this art form. Encouragement should be given in school so that interest develops in this art among schoolchildren.
Puppets are not just cute, they also reflect local craft, from a Goan puppet to a simple string cousin from Rajasthan.
This summer try to read up on puppetry in our country and you will be amazed to find the types of puppets you see in different regions.