FRIDAY REVIEW The Hindu, 13-03-09
In the footsteps of Bapu
P.K. AJITH KUMAR
‘Gandhikoothu,’ a shadow puppetry show (Tholpavakoothu), produced by Krishnankutty Pulavar Memorial Tholpavakoothu and Puppetry Centre, Shoranur, was premiered at Vadakara.
The 75-minute show, presented by Ramachandra Pulavar, focusses on the last day of the Father of the Nation; the day he was shot dead by Nathuram Godse.
Several defining moments of Gandhi’s life, and those of India’s freedom struggle, were depicted in the production.
In addition to Gandhi, the major characters in the performance were Jawaharlal Nehru, Kasturba Gandhi, Sardar Vallabhai Patel, Lord Mountbatten and Maulana Azad. The show, in fact, features as many as 70 characters.
“We took over six months to make those 70 puppets; they were designed by a London-based Malayali artiste, Killimangalam Jamsheed. And it was a French woman Zervice Ivana who made the first puppet for this show; that of Gandhi,” says Ramachandran Pulavar.
He adds that ‘Gandhikoothu’ was a dream of his late father, Krishnankutty. But finding a script was not easy.
“No established writer in Malayalam was willing to write a script for a Tholpavakoothu; since the medium was alien to them, the writers were apprehensive. Finally, novelist Nandan Edappal, agreed to write the script,” says Ramachandra Pulavar.
Next on the anvil is Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth.’ “We want to take our art beyond the borders of Kerala and a universal play like ‘Macbeth’ will help us greatly in our aim,” he says.