KK Ramachandra Pulavar expands the scope of ‘tholpavakoothu’


The Padma Shri recipient addresses socio-political problems and recent subject matters throughout the historic artwork shape

Tholpavakoothu (shadow puppetry), a centuries-old artwork shape from Kerala bridged the previous and provide with a one-hour recital that showcased the tale of coir within the State. KK Ramachandra Pulavar’s tholpavakoothu display was once a part of the not too long ago held Coir Kerala 2021, in Alappuzha.

The efficiency with leather-based puppets tested where of coir within the socio-economic historical past of Kerala, the struggles and difficulties of coir employees and quite a lot of schemes applied through the Govt of Kerala during the last four-and-a-half years that lend a hand the coir business which was once in tatters for quite a lot of causes.


A illustration of COVID-19 consciousness via tholpavakoothu

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Pulavar, a Padma Shri recipient this yr, explains that they needed to make new puppets for placing up such presentations themed on recent occasions. So leather-based puppets representing Kerala’s Leader Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Finance Minister Thomas Isaac needed to be made in conjunction with the ones of coir employees, coir buyers, machines for twisting the coir into ropes and so forth.

Realising the significance of broadening the thematic content material of the heritage artwork shape, Pulavar has been at the leading edge of choreographing, writing and growing recent subject matters in tholpavakoothu.

“In contrast to the narrative in a mix of Tamil, Malayalam and Sanskrit within the ritualistic presentations that we carry out in about 85 temples from January to Would possibly, the brand new ones are in easy Malayalam. Even for presentations staged outdoor the precincts of temples, I favor the usage of easy Malayalam to the standard narratives. Such presentations are in a position to seize the audience’ consideration once we discuss in a language this is acquainted to them. I additionally made the actions a bit of extra dramatic to succeed in out to the target market,” explains Pulavar.

Proper from new puppets and presentations to consciousness programmes on COVID-19 to performances themed at the Panchatantra, The Mahabharatha and legends of Lord Ayyappa, Mahabali and The Bible (Yesukoothu) had been advanced through Pulavar. Displays in keeping with the lifetime of Buddha and Gandhi have additionally been staged at many venues in India and in another country with naratives in Hindi and English.

Tholpavakoothu in temples focusses at the rendering of The Ramayana from Kamba Ramayanam. The tholpavakoothu efficiency at temples lasts for 10 hours. It is going on for 21 days on the Devi temple in our village in Koonathara, Shornur (Thrissur district),” he elaborates.

Narratives of yore

He emphasises that each one ritualistic performances in temples practice the standard narratives of his ancestors. Acting for the reason that age of six, Pulavar says that 13 generations of his circle of relatives had been staging performances and making the unique leather-based puppets. “I’ve been a performer for fifty years now. Having learnt the artwork shape from my overdue father Krishnakutty Pulavar, I’ve additionally been fortunate to watch, be informed and carry out with maestros within the box such because the overdue Uppathu Narayanan Nair and Balan Nair,” he explains.

Dedicating the Padma Shri to their reminiscence, perseverance and tough paintings, he says he owes the honor for wearing on with the artwork shape even within the face of serious odds, to them. He issues out that that is the primary time a tholpavakoothu performer has been honoured with a Padma award.


A scene from one of the crucial tales from the Panchatantra carried out through Tholpavakoothu exponent KK Ramachandra Pulavar

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“Proper from the time guy noticed shadows, this type of efficiency has existed in lots of paperwork and it’s possibly one of the crucial oldest types of storytelling. It’s the percusor of cinema. Is it any wonder that the emblem of the World Movie Pageant of Kerala is that of a tholpavakoothu puppet? I see the Padma Shri as an honour for each and every tholpavakoothu performer,” he asserts.

He remembers a length when there have been restricted alternatives and rarely any target market turning as much as watch their evocative performances even in temples. “There was once a length when puppetry was once in doldrums however there was many sure adjustments over the past couple of a long time. My predecessors democratised the artwork shape and popularised it. As soon as staged simplest in temples, they gave it a larger target market through hanging up through performs outdoor temples. There were modern adjustments within the subject matters we absorb. We’ve choreographed performances in keeping with the socio-political tendencies of Kerala,” he says.

Pulavar’s 3 kids, Rajeev, Rajitha and Rahul also are following of their forefathers’ footsteps. Whilst Rajeev is operating together with his father, Rahul is operating on his doctorate in Assam College whilst Rajitha is possibly the one girl performer within the box. A recipient of the junior fellowship of the Kerala Folklore Academy, she is the one girl tholpavakoothu performer to have received the Yuva Prathibha award of the Academy.

“Rajitha’s dream is to shape a troupe consisting of simplest ladies and choreograph performs that spotlight tales with an accessory on ladies. She has given a female contact to the artwork shape,” provides Pulavar.

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