This has to go down as my first time in a theatre on a “first day – first show”. Its another matter altogether that I did not intend to watch the movie itself.
The day: 28th April 2017, about 10 am
The movie: Bahubali-The Conclusion
Location: Sudarshan theatre, RTC Crossroads.
When I read that – BookMyShow (an online portal for selling movie tickets) had claimed to have sold a million tickets – two days before the release of ‘Bahubali-The Conclusion’ (!!) – I was eager to see the craze for myself. Friends and family were keen to know if I was sure – I am habituated to watching a flick only on its way out even it has a rating of a 5* and comes highly recommended. But hey who said I wanted to watch this movie today itself?
With its grand sets and epic performances, Baahubali-2 was the most-anticipated film of the year. The film had released in 6,500 screens, which is highest ever in Indian history.
The question “Why Kattappa Killed Bahubali” even got its own hashtag after the film’s poster and trailers and the first look were out.
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When I heard of a performance of leather puppets being performed at Shilparamam, I was very keen on watching it as I hadnt seen one before. I had been to the workshop and I have seen how the puppet makers were making new and more unconventional designs along with their traditional ones with equal enthusiasm.
Here, they were playing a scene from Mahabharatha called Uttara Vijayam from Virata Parvam. When the Pandavas were in hiding during their 13th year of exile they took shelter in the Matsya Kingdom. Arjuna disguised as Brihannala the dancer, helped the Prince Uttara get his cows back. In this particular scene, the true identity of Brihannala is revealed to Prince Uttara and the prince understands his folly and asks for forgiveness.
You could read more about the complete story at Chapter 46.
The leather puppeteers’ first love is to perform the puppets shows. But with the advent of television and movies their audience has diminished over the years. Even though the art form is said to have originated in the heart of Andhra Pradesh it has travelled to Indonesia where it is far more popular. It is obvious that the craftsmen need to adapt to the changing scenarios and make their art more appealing to a wider audience. Without a doubt they are good at their trade, many of them even know the epics by heart. The intricacy of the puppets, the bright colours, the folk appeal to their narrative, only underscore the fact that this is another art form that is slowly dying and deserves all the help it can get. At present, the Crafts Council is involved in helping them with more contemporary designs as well as providing them with a platform to showcase their work.
For those interested in puppets, puppet shows or lampshades can contact
Mr. Vanaparthi Kotilingam
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On a personal note, I would like to dedicate this post to a close friend who has been a great encouragement and sounding board. God knows I needed one :). Thanks for being there!
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