Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Chadar Badar - a unique santhali puppet show

A variety of table puppet theatre is common among the tribal Adivasis of western Bengal. These employ small, dark marionettes of seasoned wood and bamboo, manipulated by a combination of rods and strings to songs accompanied by flute and drums. The Santals call this form chadar badar. Raghunath Goswami(My Guru) and Suresh Dutta contributed most to modern puppetry in West Bengal. Goswami, through his work with The Puppets, founded in 1953, tried to streamline the indigenous conventions and introduced a richer literary content, but remained loyal to native roots. He made the first Indian puppet movie named Hattagol vijay in 1952.
Chadarbadar is a much less known puppet from prevalent among the santhal tribes of Jharkhand and West Bengal. neglected to the point of near extinction, this form deserves special attention. There is a central bamboo rod(stuck in a earth or held by one hand), which has a circular wooden platform on the top, carrying a number of puppets on it. outh There is a leader puppet-maiden and a youth in various dancing poses who face each other and execute a series of movements, apart from playing drums and fluts. All the wooden puppets vary in hights from 5-8 inches. Each of which tied to a string. The puppeteer holds the other end of the strings tied in a knot passing under the disc. The puppeteer performs in the open with the central rod, fully covered by a red cloth, accompanied by santhali songs and dance dolls. The puppets are simply clothed with painted facial features and often carry turban or bird-father on the head. It is to be believed that these simple puppet dances represents the first primate form of puppetry, before the story telling in the epic tradition came into vogue.
It is to be noted that there are four main puppet forms prevent in india are; rod, shadow, string and glove and surprisingly chadar badar so not cater any of these. This is complex to make but amizingly simple to watch. hope in near future i could show you some glimpses.
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