Theatre

Filmy fundas unravelled

Founder of Katkatha Puppet Arts Trust, Anurupa Roy   | Photo Credit: V.V. Krishnan

Film and puppetry may seem like divergent fields, but in Bollywood Bandwagon, Anurupa Roy, founder of Delhi-based Katkatha Puppet Arts Trust, brings the two art forms to create a truly unique and visually splendid production. The play is based on stories from Bollywood, presented with puppets and actors, peppered with item numbers, dramatic and comic moments.

The play unravels with the shooting of a typical masala Bollywood film, Kya Jeena Bin Tere. “The film begins with what happened 15 years ago and then cuts to the present. It has typical Bollywood characters such as two brothers, with one of them being adopted, one being spoilt and both of them falling in love with the same girl. Their father is framed for murder.”

The performance plays out in two parts, occurring simultaneously, giving the audience a dual experience. “We have human faces, but the bodies are that of puppets. It is very much like how a caricature is drawn. The faces are much bigger than the bodies. At the same time, a camera is recording the performance in a tight frame. The camera is attached to a projector and is screened along side. The special effects are created on the spot, which creates the comedy. We have a table on rollers which moves closer and far away from the camera, and accordingly creates long shots and close-ups.”

Though the performance is a satire on Bollywood, Anurupa says that the play also looks at back stories of the Hindi film industry. “It just isn’t a Bollywood film. The characters are an amalgam. You have the ageing star, showing how difficult it is to age in Bollywood. The struggling actor and the challenges women actors face.”

She adds that while the audience only gets to see the three-hour, time-pass Bollywood film, they need to understand the effort that goes into making one. “We want the play to entertain, we also want people to stop and take a moment to see what it means to struggle in the film industry and have dreams unfulfilled.”

Like Anurupa’s previous productions, Bollywood Bandwagon was created after in-depth research. Choiti Ghosh, an object theatre practitioner, actor and puppeteer, co-wrote the script with Anurupa. “It took us about a year to write the script. We began writing in April 2008. We rejected at least three drafts. We must have watched at least 200 blockbuster films. We read Saadat Hasan Manto’s collection of articles on the earlier era of Bollywood, such as Stars from Another Sky. We also spoke to friends who are closely associated with the film industry. The first performance opened in October 2009 in Austria. It must be emphasised that the show is meant for adults only. We want to break that glass ceiling that puppetry is meant for children. We want adults to watch puppetry.”

Bollywood Bandwagon will be staged on September 27 and September 28 at Ranga Shankara, 3.30 pm and 7.30 pm. It will be performed in Hinglish and is meant for adults, above 18 years. The cast includes Pawan Waghmare, Choiti Ghosh, Avinash Kumar, Anurupa Roy, Mohammad Shameem and Anand Kumar.


Our code of editorial values

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Jan 29, 2022 5:57:38 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/theatre/filmy-fundas-unravelled/article6442410.ece

Next Story