Some strings attached

Oct 08, 2018, 09:14 IST | Dalreen Ramos

A leather puppet show and workshop by artisans from Andhra Pradesh brings mythological tales to life

Some strings attached
Tholu Bommalata is a form of shadow puppetry

The concept of inanimate objects being brought to life has never failed to fuel our child-like imagination. As school kids we remember one of our very first exercises was to identify the living and non-living — it didn’t take us very long to do so. But when the inanimate translates into a powerful form of storytelling, the elementary exercise seems like a crude way of doing things. This Wednesday, you’ll perhaps know why.

At Iteeha, a 90-minute puppet show will see the unfolding of mythological tales with a combination of traditional art from Andhra Pradesh. Tholu Bommalata, as it is called, is a dance of leather puppets usually performing dramatised versions of epics. “This is a more musical form of puppetry. The artisans will be coming from Andhra Pradesh and we’ll begin with an introduction on how to make leather puppets. Then they will perform the show which is essentially a narration of the Ramayana, in their regional language, which will be later translated by us,” Ritika Jhunjhunwala, creative director of Iteeha, a textile consultancy, explains, adding that this will be the first time the studio is hosting the event.

A leather lamp

The puppets are made from goat leather that is processed for around 15 days, and then turns translucent. Later, characters are fleshed out of the material. “A few of them also have holes so light passes through them, and gives a shadow effect. Artisans have also started using chemical dyes because it is cost effective and doesn’t take as long as natural dyes. Each god and goddess is also painted in a specific colour, for instance, Krishna and Ram are blue,” Jhunjhunwala shares. The event will be preceded by a workshop where participants can learn to make leather lamps and wall hangings, an art form that has evolved from puppetry. With Dussehra and Diwali around the corner, there cannot be a better time to have this
animated exchange.

On October 10, 6.30 pm to 7.30 pm
AT Iteeha Studio, Lower Parel
CALL 7506122332

Cost Rs 600

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