Bring the puppet out of the shadows of the dark, urge the artists
Puppetry has played a major role in the social development of the state, but the art form and its practitioners are rarely recognized or encouraged by authorities, said the master puppeteers.
Performers representing some 30 state puppet groups gathered in Kozhikode on Sunday to celebrate World Puppetry Day, during which the foundations for a puppet academy were laid. The academy aims to bring together different puppet streams prevalent in Kerala on one platform.
âThere are less than 100 puppeteers in the state. Traditional forms of puppetry are disappearing due to the lack of new practitioners, âsaid PN Parameshwaran, secretary of the Kerala Educational Puppet Theater.
The puppeteers urged the government to establish a puppet training center in Palakkad, the state’s traditional puppetry center, modeled on the Cultural Resources and Training Center (CCRT) in New Delhi, and to establish a museum to introduce the younger generation to the art form.
âThe modern puppet is widely used nowadays for educational purposes and for social campaigns. However, the traditional still depends on the four-month temple festivals, while it is often performed as a form of ritual art, âthey said.
Tholpavakkoothu (leather puppet), nokkuvidya pavakali, charadu pavakali (string puppet), pavakathakali (Kathakali puppet) and Yakshagana are the five puppet currents practiced in the state. Most of the existing puppet groups are from Palakkad, while a few are from the districts of Kozhikode, Pathanamthitta and Kasaragod.
The meeting was opened by TP Kunjiraman, a supporter of the modern Vadakara puppet stream, Kozhikode. A seminar on âThe Possibilities of Puppetry in the Stateâ was organized. Five teams from different parts of the state presented their respective puppet streams on the occasion.