Shadow Puppetry

  • They are made of cut out of leather and are flat in figures.
  • Shadow puppets are pressed against the screen with a strong source of light behind it, the manipulation between the light and the screen make colourful shadows for the audience who sits in front of the screen.
  • These puppets are popular in Orissa, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu
  • Examples of shadow puppet in India include: Togalu Gombeyatta (Karnataka), Tholu Bommalata (Andhra Pradesh), Ravanachhaya (Odisha)
  • Togalu Gombeyatta: The shadow theatre of Karnataka is known as Togalu Gombeyatta. These puppets are mostly small in size. The puppets however differ in size according to their social status, for instance, large size for kings and religious characters and smaller size for common people or servants

Shadow Puppetry

Figure: Togalu Gombeyatta (Karnataka)

  • Tholu Bommalata: It is primarily from the state of AP. The puppets are large in size and have jointed waist, shoulders, elbows and knees. They are coloured on both sides. Hence, these puppets throw coloured shadows on the screen. The music is dominantly influenced by the classical music of the region and the theme of the puppet plays are drawn from the Ramayana, Mahabharata and Puranas.

Shadow Puppetry

Figure: Tholu Bommalata

  • Ravanachhaya, Orissa: It is a puppet form from Odisha. The puppets are in one piece and have no joints. They are not coloured, hence throw opaque shadows on the screen. Apart from human and animal characters, many props such as trees, mountains, chariots, etc. are also used. Although, Ravanachhaya puppets are smaller in size-the largest not more than two feet have no jointed limbs, they create very sensitive and lyrical shadows.

Shadow Puppetry

Figure: Ravanachhaya