Puppet dance festival ends
The three-day puppet dance festival ended at the Experimental Theatre Hall of Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy on Wednesday, through staging of two productions- ‘Khanda Khanda Galpa’ and ‘Rupban’.
Seven puppet troupes from across the country participated in the festival organised by the academy. The Azad Putul Nach, from Bagerhat, originally scheduled to attend, did not participate at the festival.
Bani Bina Putul Nach from Brahimbaria staged a string puppet show titled ‘Khanda Khanda Galpo’, directed by Fulu Miyan, featuring two stories: one portraying a baul group’s performance in a rural area, and another glorifying Durga as a powerful deity. Another performance of the day was Samanway Putul Nach’s production ‘Rupban’, directed by Sree Maniratna Adhikari, portraying the timeless narratives of Rupban and Rahim Badsha through puppets.
Three troupes staged puppet shows earlier on Tuesday. Biswarupa Putul Nach from Manikgonj staged ‘Sita Haran’, directed by Balram Rajbanshi, which features the Sita Haron (abduction of Sita) episode from the epic Ramayana.
Manohara Putul Nach, from Kushtia, staged ‘Prem Sarthak’, directed by Abdul Kuddus. The production depicted an ill-fated prince who gets evicted from his palace by some royal conspirators.
Monika Putul Nach, from Kurigram, staged ‘Raja Harish Chandra-er Shoshan Milan’, directed by Makbul Hossain. The troupe colorfully depicted the sufferings of King Harishchandra after being cursed by a hermit. The puppet show, however, had a happy ending when the king reunited with his lost family members at a crematorium.
These traditional troupes had to display short versions of such productions at the festival. But, the shows give a brief idea of the nature of contemporary presentations of traditional string puppet shows, which infuse many ‘popular’ cultural elements to draw the attention of people.
For example, the narratives of the Ramayana began with a popular Dhaliwood movie song ‘Rupey amar agun joley’. And the same puppets that enacted the roles of the legends in the myth danced to the movie song.
Such observations also came from the seminar titled ‘Bangladesher Putul Natya: Samosya, Sankot O Sombhabona’, featuring the problems and potential of traditional puppet dance in the country, on Wednesday morning at Shilpakala
Professor Rashid Harun, a teacher of drama and dramatics department of Jahangirnagar University, presented the keynote paper at the seminar, which was presided over by director general of the academy Liaquat Ali Lucky.
Professor Harun pointed out different causes behind the distortions of the traditional ‘puppet theatre’, such as struggle for survival, commercialisation, disunity amongst the artistes, absence of innovations and adverse impact of popular cultural elements.
The festival, however, drew the attention of Dhaka audience.
Aftab Hossain, a government service holder, told New Age on Tuesday, ‘I really enjoyed the puppet show’. Dilara Hossain, a housewife, observed that puppet shows are rarely organised in the capital though city dwellers need such a pure source of entertainment.