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Entertaining people has been the core of any cultural festival in India. Puppetry is no less an entertainment. Kathpuli, as they are usually called has been a popular form of entertainment that has stood the test of time. Though it has been an ancient form of folk entertainment, studies show that this is a source of entertainment that can be traced down to Egyptians - probably the earliest known puppeteers.
Puppetry comes in a range of forms. Almost all the states in India have their own version of puppetry. Some of the most popular forms of puppetry are listed below.
As the name suggests, Glove puppets are worn as gloves on the hands. The middle finger and thumb act as hands of the puppet, while the index finger acts as the head. You can perform with two glove hands at once. These hand puppets are highly popular in many Indian states. This form of art in Kerala is called Pava-kathakali while in Orissa its called Sakhi Kundhei. In Uttar Pradesh, this form of art is used to depict a fight scene between two housewives. This show is a musical which has loads of lewd jokes and humour. In West Bengal, this form of art is called Bener Putul. One hand holds a female puppet while the other a male.
Similar to the above form of puppetry, Rod puppetry is done on larger sized dolls that come wit three joints - the head is supported by the main rod and is joined at the neck and both hands that are attached to rods or the doll’s costume. This form of puppetry is extremely popular in places such as West Bengal, Odisha and Bihar. The dolls are made to perform on ancient stories and folklores.
This form of art is done with flat figures that are usually made of leather. These figures are then lightly pressed on a transparent screen with a strong source of light behind. The audience watches the shadow of puppet, instead of the actual figurines, hence the name Shadow puppetry. The show is usually done during the night or in dark surrounds. The impression on the audience is quite dramatic as due to the darkness, all the concentration is on the show. The movements of the dolls are manipulated using cane or bamboo sticks to which the figurines are tied using thin strings.
Perhaps the most common form of puppetry, string puppets are held by strings and operated or controlled from above. Marionettes, as they are usually called are also used as decorative items at home to add ethnic decor to homes. Made of wood, or wire, or cloth stuffed with cotton, rags stuffed with sawdust, these figurines are highly flexible and the most articulate of the puppets.
A recent form of art, finger puppetry makes use of finger puppets to enact a story. You can, in fact, have different people play different characters using finger puppets. However, if you are a skilled ventriloquist, you can mimic various characters using different types of finger figurines.
Playing with puppet toys can be really fun. If you are looking to buy different kinds of puppet toys or even a stock puppet, log in to your e-store account and buy them at great discounts.
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