Puthalika Patrika News Magazine

Volume :1 Issue:03 January 2020


Traditional Puppetry of Kerala State, India


Puppetry is an art form in which the performance is carried over by the inanimate objects called puppets, a lot resembling a human or animal figure, that are manipulated by an artist called as puppeteer.

In Kerala puppets are of different kinds, such as ‘Nool Pava Koothu’ - String Puppets controlled either by threads or hands. In some areas sticks are also used for the same and such puppets are known as Rod Puppets.

‘Pava Kathakali’- known as glove or hand puppets. There is one more kind of puppetry known as ‘Nokku Vidya Pava Kali’- the puppets are perched atop a pole that rests vertically on the upper lip of the puppeteer squatting on the floor wherein the small puppet is balanced in between nose and lips and is moved accordingly. A rare kind indeed. Then of course, the most popular puppetry form in Kerala is the shadow puppetry or ‘Tholpavakoothu’ or ‘Nizhalpaavakoothu’, in which shadow of puppets is shown through the white curtain placed in front the puppets in earthen lamp lights.