The Puppets Are Coming
BANASHANKARI: A group of students invited to the Dhaatu Puppet Theatre to design and create puppets wanted to know what they had to bring with them.
The instructions were simple: "Come with your imagination." And the creations that adorned the street in Banashankari Stage II showed that they came with an abundant supply of it.
"They had to work with a model that had movement and conveyed a message," said Anupama Hoskere of Dhaatu, which is organising a month-long Dhaatu International Puppet Festival in Bengaluru from Monday.
"The Dhaatu International Puppet Festival is all about exploring the dimensions of puppetry. We have 14 students from Hunter College, New York attending the festival as a ‘study abroad’ event. We wanted students of Namma Bengaluru also to understand puppetry," says Anupama.
Students of National Institute of Design (NID) presented the good and evil forces of the period with 8-foot tall puppets — Kali Purusha and Kalki. "They will bring this to the Puppet Parade which will be flagged off on January 1 at 10.30 am from MG Road,” adds Anupama.
The festival also includes a puppet display at the Kempegowda International Airport. “The theme here is Belur — Heritage of Karnataka. Dancers Shantala and her sakhis will be shown in front of a Shantala Mantapa. King Vishnuvardhana is also present and alongside is a temple cut-out with Ramanujacharya,” says Anupama.
"We chose this theme because of Karnataka's tradition of offering sanctuary to one and all. When Sri Ramanujacharya was persecuted by the Chola kings, he found refuge here," adds Anupama.
"So it is befitting that this theme welcomes the international traveller to Bengaluru,” she says. In addition, Ganesha, Dolu, Valaga, Pujari, a villager and Koravanji will be exhibited at the check-in counter.
Samara Russia, a troupe from Russia, will be among the participants. “They love India and want to be in Bengaluru. They are among 16 stalwarts in the field of arts who will present original works,” says Anupama.
“We want Bengaluru to be synonymous with the puppet traditions of India. Dhaatu puppet festival has been an annual feature since 2009. We are adding January 1 as Puppet Parade Day in Bengaluru. We have offered an annual calendar of events from Dhaatu Puppet Theatre which can be part of the Karnataka Tourism website so the visitor can plan and watch a show.
“We have also invited the Minister of Tourism to be the chief guest on January 3,” says Anupama Another nteresting aspect
of the festival is the puppet bus stop. “Karisandra corporator Jyothisri Reddy and Transport Minister Ramalinga Reddy have agreed to our proposal of creating a bus-stop on K R Road.
The artistically designed bus stop will have the Mudalapaya puppets of Bengaluru, Mysuru and Tumakuru regions and display a map of Karnataka with its puppet history and heritage. People just need to sit in a bus and go to Dhaatu Puppet stop and learn all about Karnataka puppetry or walk a few steps to Dhaatu and learn to play a puppet,” adds Anupama.