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The Kerala Puppet Festival 2013 showcased a wide and colourful range of traditional puppetry -October 2013.

The main hall of Kerala Sahithya Akademi, Thrissur is a regular venue for literary meetings, film festivals and performing arts. Recently, puppets of all kinds, specially noted for their colour, distinctive movement techniques and narrative styles, descended on the stage of the Hall as part of the Kerala Puppet Festival 2013. They created a visual treat for a capacity audience. While an exhibition of puppets, books and props on and of puppetry threw light on the art form, discussions and demonstrations held as part of the festival went a long way in kindling the enthusiasm of the audience to know more about each form. Large puppets arrayed along the path leading to the Hall and tender coconut leaves fluttering in the air welcomed the audience into the Hall.

Tholpavakoothu National Awardee – Kalasree Ramachandra Pulavar

K K Ramachandra Pulavar

Born on 25 May 1960 in Shoranur, Kerala, Shri K.K Ramachandra Pulavar belongs to a family of traditional puppeteers. The eighth generation puppeteer in his family, he was initiated into the art of Tolpavakoothu – the shadow puppet theatre of Kerala – by his father, the renowned Tolpavakoothu artist, K.L. Krishnan Kutty Pulavar. Today, Ramachandra Pulavar performs the ritualistic art form Tolpavakoothu in around 40 temples all over Palakkad, Trichur and Mallapuram district.
Acquiring high proficiency in the art, Shri K.K Ramachandra Pulavar has been training teachers at CCRT workshops for the past 10 years and has been giving regular demonstrations in schools. He has performed extensively in India, and has given performances in Russia, Sweden, Spain, Ireland, Germany, Greece, Singapore, Japan, Holland, Poland, Israel, Thailand, Muscat and China. His troupe, Krishnan Kutty Pulavar Memorial Tolpavakoothu and Puppet Centre founded by his father, Krishnan Kutty Pulavar, is the major troupe in Kerala to preserve the art form and train the new generation artists. The troupe has started to explore the aesthetics of the art form outside its ritualistic context by introducing new plays like Jesus Christ, and new characters based on contemporary issues. Shri K.K Ramachandra Pulavar has received a Junior Fellowship in 1991 and a Senior Fellowship in 2004 from the Ministry of Culture, Government of India, and has authoured a book titled Tolpavakoothu in Malayalam.
For his outstanding service in the field of puppetry, Shri K.K. Ramachandra Pulavar has received many honours such as the Lifetime Achievement and Excellence Award Dakshina Chithra Virudhu from the Madras Craft Foundation in 2008; the Thailand Government Puraskar in 2011; the Dr B.R. Ambedkar Kerala State Award in 2011; the Kerala State Folklore Academy Award in 2012; and the Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Academy Kalasri Puraskar in 2013.

Shri K.K. Ramachandra Pulavar receives the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for his contribution to Tolpavakoothu – Shadow Puppet Theatre of Kerala.

Krishnan kutty pulavar memorial tholpavakoothu and puppet center, one of the most prominent puppet players in Kerala .Our group hails from shoranur, Palakkad District. we are conserving this noble art in its traditional way.at present the 12th generation of our Pulavar family is conducting the performances in different parts of the world. Every year we use to conduct our puppet show in almost 85temples in all over Kerala. Our center is very much unique in its way that we are giving training sessions to the upcoming generation at our own residence. As puppetry is a temple art form, it use to display stories from puranas. To popularize our art form we are including different stories – Gandhian Stories, Biblical stories, Panchatantra stories, women empowerment etc…….

Achievements

  • Sangeet natak Academy National Award -2015
  • Life time achievement and Excellence award from madras craft foundation “DashinachithraVirdhu” in 2008 (south Indian award)
  • Kerala state Folklore Academy Award for the excellence life time performance 2012
  • Kerala state Sangeet natak Academy KALASRI Puraskar 2013
  • Chummarchhondalfolkore academy puraskar for creation of Jesus Christ story in 2013
  • Samhitha temple puraskar from the padmanabhaswamy temple king SreeUthradamThirunalMarthanda Varma authorities 2012
  • Shattkalagovindanmarar Trustee Puraskar 2013
  • Dr.B.RAmbhedkar Kerala state Award 2011
  • Thailand Government Purasakar 2011
  • Junior & senior fellowship holder from ministry of culture Govt. of India 1991,2004
  • Scholarship from department from culture
  • Awards from foreign countries for performance

Books

  • Kerala language institute published a book about Tholpavakoothu in the name of Shri.K.K.Ramachnadrapulavar 2015

Article

  • The Routledge Companion to puppetry and material performances (USA)
  • Different Magazines all over the world
  • “shadow puppet in kerala” by NFSC -2008

Further Training, Achievements & Recognitions

  • Trained 10 persons on behalf of Delhi handicrafts in 1995 in leather puppet craft
  • Trained 40 school-teachers in CCRT New Delhi for about 10years regularly
  • Conduct demonstration in many schools in kerala
  • Participated pragathi maiden national handicraft museum,New Delhi from 1980 to every year
  • Certificate from Kamala Devi Chattopadaya 1978 (founder of handicraft)
  • Certificate from Sangeet Natak academy New –Delhi
  • Certificate from National folklore Support centre –Chennai 2005
  • Certificate from Kerala lalitha kala academy 2008
  • Certificate from Madras craft foundation 2008
  • Certificate from foreign countries from 1979…….
  • Certificate from Indira Gandhi RashteriyaManavasangralaya Bhopal
  • Participating in the international film festivals in kerala Every year
  • Balakandam&Aryuanakandam in English translation 2005
  • Publishes a book “shadow puppet in kerala” by NFSC -2008
  • “Tholpavakoothu”published by keralaBasha institute
  • Creating new stories about Social awareness, panchathantra stories, Mahatma Gandhi, Jesus Christ etc…..
  • Created IFFK logo with Great Director Aravindan

Camps

  • Conduct a exhibitions in lalitha kala academy “Koothumadam” exhibitions
    of puppets in 2010
  • Participate Dravidian exhibitions in keralalalitha kala academy 2005
  • Conducting camps for school children’s
  • NatayaDarsana puppet theatre workshop in Kozhikode 2006
  • Exhibitions of puppets in Bhopal
  • Akhyan puppet exhibition in IGNCA 2010
  • Creating Mahatma Gandhi Performance through shadow puppetry
  • Creating Jesus Christ Performance through shadow puppetry
  • Creating MAHABHARTHAM- DURUYODHANVADAM Performance through shadow puppetry
  • Creating AYYAPA CHARITHAM Performance through shadow puppetry
  • Creating Mahabali koothu kerala national festival ONAM Performance through shadow puppetry
  • Creating Modern Story through Puppets
  • Creating Professional drama about the life history Tholpavakoothu artist “NADINAKKAM NADAKKAM”

Performances

  • Annual performances in about 45 temples during the temple festivals seasons from December
    to June every year
  • A temple performance will stretch over 7, 14,21,41,71 days according to the temple tradition
  • Various stage performance during a year (250 stages)
  • Performance in schools for children’s
  • Performance in College as part of puppetry in education and theatre studies

Puppet Making

  • Making and natural coloring of about 300 puppets per year
  • Creating Giant puppets
  • Teaching puppet making to students in schools
  • Training to students in the theatre

Countries Visited

Russia, Sweden, Spain,Ireland, Germany, Greece, Singapore, Japan, Holand, Poland,Israel, Thailand,Muscat, China

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