The city is already familiar with the works of Anurupa Roy’s Katkatha Puppet Arts Trust, having seen Almost Twelfth Night as part of the Hamara Shakespeare Festival and About Ram, as part of an earlier edition of The Park’s New Festival. So it is little wonder then that Prakriti Foundation has once again brought the master puppeteer and her troupe to perform in the city. And what a performance it was.
Bollywood Bandwagon tells the story of what happens on and behind the screens of a typical Hindi masala movie. Having made a side-door entry into the world of cinema, Bollywood Bandwagon watches the on-goings of a film set, albeit without any coloured glasses. While the play starts off with the onscreen drama, typical Bollywood fare, it gradually turns more and more voyeuristic as it moves to the off-screen realities — darker secrets of the industry, some forgotten and some taken for granted. And the further it goes inside, the less shiny the veneer becomes. And finally, there reaches a point when the lines between the outrageousness of the screen and that off it get blurred. And that is when you know you are truly on the Bollywood bandwagon for here, there are no two ways about it. You are either on the bandwagon or off it. And you either totally love it or hate it.
The play uses innovative methods of puppetry where the faces belong to the puppeteers while the body is that of a puppet. That way, when the lines between the onscreen drama and the off-screen reality get blurred, the puppets too become human, and vice-versa. And no one really knows who is pulling the strings.