From flicker to glow

It has now been two decades since contemporary themes and recent historical personalities have lit up the shadow puppetry screen in Orissa. Its practitioners still call their art Ravana Chhaya

Published: 22nd May 2011 11:14 PM  |   Last Updated: 16th May 2012 10:04 PM   |  A+A-

19from01

It has now been two decades since contemporary themes and recent historical personalities have lit up the shadow puppetry screen in Orissa. Its practitioners still call their art Ravana Chhaya, though the themes have ceased to be just from the Ramayana. They aren’t the nomadic Bhat tribes who used to hop villages, displaying their light-and-shade art. The perforated leather puppets continue to be propped upon bamboo sticks, but it is electric bulbs—not oil lamps—lending them the glow. The ethos have changed.

Gourang Charan Das is an example. Having done his PhD in puppet theatre, this villager from north-central Orissa is keen to use his art as a catalyst for social change. The tales narrate the issues of illiteracy, casteism, dowry deaths and health matters like HIV/AIDS. “It’s another multimedia product,” claims the scholar, who has conceptualised shows also on Mahatma Gandhi (Bapu Katha) and Pt Nehru (Jawahar—The Apostle of Peace).

It all began in 1991 when Delhi’s Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts sought to revive Ravana Chhaya that had only two performing troupes. Within four years, Gourang set up the Sriram Institute of Shadow Theatre at Kutarimunda—not far from his native Khamar off Talcher. “Improvisation feeds any art,” he says.

Stay up to date on all the latest Lifestyle news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)

Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

facebook twitter whatsapp