Dadi Pudumjee- An Indian Puppeteer

Puppets are one of the best ways to tell a story. They not only reach adults but also to kids. It’s an ancient way of storytelling. Many states in India are still known for their puppet shows. Being an animation student, I completely relate to puppetry. In puppetry there is a puppeteer to pull the puppets strings. And in animation the animator animates the character. So, a puppeteer plays the most essential role in puppetry.

Dadi Pudumjee is India’s one of the most well known puppeteers. He has made many folk puppet shows such as Ramayana, Motu ki Mooch, Rangila Rakshas, Pakhandi Sher and many more. He is the founder of Ishara Puppet Theatre Trust. His ways of performing puppetry are very different from the other puppet shows. In almost all of his shows he has made people as his puppets; like in his show ‘Satya ka Pratiroop’. But then in his other act ‘Heer ke Waris’, it was a mixture of almost everything. There were actors to act and then there were puppets and also shadow puppetry in the play. Lights and shadows also play an important role in his plays. In his play “Ma’afret- awakening”, he used giant puppets and actors. The puppets were the main agenda of the play. They were managed by two people inside. Not to forget his recent play in 2020 ‘When land meets Water’ where he used hand-made papers.

His puppetry and performances were not the only ones that amazed me but also the ways he makes his puppets and puppet faces and also how he maintains them. He makes his puppets with wood and leather. To maintain the quality of the leather he uses dyes or waterproof inks. And to make the puppet faces he uses paper mache. It is a very good example of best out of waste. To make the paper mache stick properly he uses methi dana (fenugreek) glue. It was good to learn different and unique things. His techniques and unique ways for presenting his puppets were remarkable and amazing. And I am inspired to make an animation using his puppetry techniques and explore more and experiment.

Purvi Tank, B.Des. Sem. VI, Animation and Motion Graphics, School of Communication Design, Unitedworld Institute of Design (UID)

Disclaimer: The opinions / views expressed in this article are solely of the author in his / her individual capacity. They do not purport to reflect the opinions and/or views of the College and/or University or its members.

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