Artist throws light on shadow puppetry, revives it from history
As the first man danced, his shadow danced along with him. I believe that was the basis for shadow puppetry
New Delhi: The art form of Tholpavakoothu (shadow puppetry) used to be a part of India’s rich cultural heritage, but has been in a downward spiral recently. National Award winner Ramachandra Pulavar is engaged in a struggle to revive the lost glory of the art form.
Speaking to DNA during the Arth: A Culture Fest, Pulavar revealed that Tholpavakoothu, having originated in the ninth century AD, is the world’s oldest art form. Around 12 to 13 generations of his family have been engaged in performing the art and he is continuing the tradition. He further explained that it is believed that first came Chaitanya (holiness), then emerged Prakruti (nature), followed by the sun and then, light.
“As the first man danced, his shadow danced along with him. I believe that was the basis for shadow puppetry, an ancient art form which has been around for many centuries. As man learned more about manipulating light and dark to weave stories, Tholpavakoothu, an art form that is
Shadow puppetry artist
part of Kerala’s rich cultural heritage, emerged,” said Pulavar.
Performing the story of Ramayama especially for kids, he explained that this form of storytelling takes years of practice and uses translucent puppets, multi-coloured leather figures, which are four to five feet tall and come with articulated arms.
The puppetry show performed on Sunday at Arth