Shadow puppetry

Shadow puppetry in India

Shadow puppetry in India is also a main part of indian puppetry. In this style puppets are flat figures cut out of leathers, to make them translucent. Puppets are press against the screen also with strong source of light behind it. There is also the manipulation of light to make colourful shadows. Shadow puppetry in India is prevalent in the Orissa, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and also in Tamil Nadu state. Tholubommalata is a famous shadow puppetry of Andhra Pradesh. The puppets are large in size and have joint waist, shoulders, elbows and also the knees. This puppetry’s performance is on classical music of region. Shadow puppetry also shows influence on West Bengal’s folk theatre Jatra.

Shadow puppetry

Ravan Chhaya

Ravan Chhaya is shadow puppetry of Orissa. In this puppets are small in size and also are in one piece with no joint. These puppet has made of deer skin and are conceived in bold dramatic pose. These are not colourful puppets that’s why they throw opaque shadow on screen. Apart from animal and human characters many props such as trees, mountains and also the chariots. Scenes of Ramayan depicts here.

Ravan Chhaya puppetry


Tholapavakoothu is shadow puppetry of Kerala. The Indian Institute of Science and SPICMACAY together, recently presents ‘Tholapavakoothu’ (Shadow Puppetry show) at the Students Amenities Centre, Gymkhana campus, IISc. The main artist was Kalashri Ramachandra Pulavar, a Sangeet Nataka Academy award winner who was accompany by artists, Rajeev Pulavar, S.Laxman, Krishnadas and Manoj.

Togalu Gombeyatta, Karnataka

The shadow theatre of Karnataka is also call as Togalu Gombeyatta. These puppets are mainly small in size. The puppets however differ in size according to their social status, for example, large size for kings and religious characters and smaller size for common people or servants.

Tholu Bommalata, Andhra Pradesh
Tholu Bommalata, Andhra Pradesh’s shadow puppet theatre has the richest and strongest tradition. The puppets are large in size and have joint waist, shoulders, elbows and knees. Puppets are coloured on both sides. Hence, these puppets throw colour shadows on the screen. The music is dominantly influence by the classical music of the region and the theme of the puppet plays are drawn from the Ramayana, Mahabharata and Puranas.

Shadow puppetry art form sounds so easy to everyone. But the dialogue delivery, communication, interpretation of episode is too difficult. Perfect coordination and timing and practice require from the perfection in shadow puppetry. Rama deer scene, sugrive Bali scene is also a main theme of shadow puppetry.

Is shadow puppetry a struggling art form ?

In India, the younger generation doesn’t realising the worth of shadow puppetry and this art. While it has become a research topic in many foreign universities. California university’s professor and students often come to India to know about this art. Research on this field will also enrich our social culture too.

Glove Puppetry

In the glove puppetry the head is of either paper if cloth and also times also of wood with two hand emerging just below the neck. And the rest figure consist a flowering skirt. The movements are control by humans in glove puppetry they use to were the puppet as a glove. The first finger have inserted on head portion and the use of middle finger and thumb to control the arms. Glove puppetry is popular in UP, Orissa m West Bengal and also in Kerala. Dialogue also play important role in glove puppetry. They use to take funny stories for puppetry.

Glove puppetry

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If You light a lamp for someone else. It will also brighten your path. And that's what I believe.

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  1. I like your post sir. Give me some tips to crack exams🙏

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