Puppets and market's pawns

Jabir Mushthari
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Novel medium: The puppeteers with the characters in ‘Yellow Song'.
Novel medium: The puppeteers with the characters in ‘Yellow Song'.

Video albums do have a following in the State. But here is an album song with no human actors. Emoting in it are seven puppets.

The song, titled Yellow Song, to be released here, is originally part of a short film, Yellow Glass, directed by P.K. Arshad, on the highly commercialised modern health-care sector and the invasion of market forces with its greed and callousness.

“With its rap rhythm and the comic presence of the animal puppets, the song ridicules the fabricated fear pharmaceutical companies and other vested interest lobbies create and the tenacious control these forces have over our lives,” Arshad, who directed the song, says.

He used puppetry as it strongly communicates the black humour and satire in the lyrics.

“I separated the song from the film and decided to picturise and premiere it independently as part of an album using the innovative visuals of modern puppetry, which I thought would better suit the satirical content of the song,” Arshad says.

Yellow Glass has received critical acclaim, including a special jury mention during the International Documentary and Short Film Festival of Kerala in Thiruvananthapuram in June.

K.R. Prasad's lyrics have been visualised by a team of puppeteers, including R.K. Perambra and K. Premjith of Natyadarshana Puppet Theatre based here. Prior to the shoot, a three-day production workshop was held here under the direction of T.P. Kunhiraman, a leading puppeteer from Malabar.

“All the seven characters were evolved during the workshop,” V. Akhil, composer of the song and member of Natyadarshana, says.

A crow, a monkey, a rabbit, a puppy, a squirrel, a cat and a worm are the seven characters of the song. The hand-puppets sing, walk, talk, dance and somersault.

“Probably, this is the first time that modern puppets are being used as characters throughout a Malayalam song,” says V. Ajithkumar, master-puppeteer of the team and director of Natyadarshana, who is doing research on puppetry in London.

E.K. Soman has rendered the three-and-a-half-minute song. Ajith Edayath has done the editing and V. Umesh has cranked the camera.

Jabir Mushthari




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