Puppetry (Kalsutri Bahoolya)

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This ancient folk art is mentioned in 15th chapter of Gyane shwari. In this form of art marionettes perform play based on epics of Mahabharata and Ramayana while two artists provide dialogues and songs. Third gives musical support.

The puppets characters consist of two parts. Portion above the waist is made up of stable lightwood which is chiseled of character's face, eyes, lips and nose. Masks are prepared according to the role of characters. Second part below the waist is covered with decorated skirt. The normal height of each character is between 1 to 1½ ft.

Before beginning of the show Thakar artists set up readymade skeleton on the presentation stage, which is 2 to 3 ft above the ground, covered with cloth on all the sides.

Leaving only 2 ft. height frontal portion open. This open part is a stage for puppets to perform puppetry. When show is performed the principal actor who makes puppets dance by his magic fingers is invisible to the audience. He stands behind the skeleton and capable of dancing four puppets at a time.

The peculiarity of puppetry is that all the characters arrive at the stage dancing thus, songs are sung to mark arrival. Demons report to the stage by long leap. They dance for a while on the floor and disappear before arrival of Lord Ganapati and Goddess Saraswati. Maghanath and Laxman then battles in the sky. The howling voice of demons is identically created with the help of musical instrument called Tabala and human's voice in chorus.

Formarly kalsutri artists used to prepare their puppets by themselves and occasionally they used to seek help from carpenters. Generally the work involves painting of the mask according to the character's role, tying strings at exact point, designing colorful costumes all this has to be done by the artists themselves.