After retiring from his job in 2006, Subho Joardar is devoting all his time to puppetry group Bangopootool Puppet Passion . His stories deal with relevant societal issues for which he has been honoured as the best script writer by the state Academy of Dance Drama Music and Visual Arts, Kolkata. The puppeteer talks to My Theatre Cafe sharing his passion for the creative art form and its survival in today’s times.
Tell us about your group – Bangopootool Puppet Passion. How and when the group came into being?
A: “Bangopootool “ is a non commercial, professional group (of rod puppet style) formed in 2000, operating from Kolkata , West Bengal, with an intention to doing research, survey, workshop, seminar and contemporary puppet theatre productions . Before forming the group, we worked professionally under the great puppet master Padmashree Suresh Dutta since 1980. Mean while, getting 20 years experience from an international puppet personality, we stated our journey to implement our dreams, changing the social environment though our powerful and colourful traditional puppetry-art.
What interested you to pursue a career in puppetry?
A: Puppetry is an art of fantasy and has a wonderful role upon the human mind. The European society is marking good use of this art in Education , Entertainment, Trade and commerce, health programme , Advertisement and publicity etc, whereas our society is far behind of this situation . The possibility of puppetry in our county is still in a very nascent stage and can be explored extensively.
How do you find the reaction of today’s generation towards puppetry?
A: Yes, today’s generation is not basically interested in puppetry at all. But not only the youngsters but a major portion of elder generation is also not paying their interest towards puppetry. As if, it is a dry subject with no possibility. But the fact is, puppetry is yet to be explored in Indian soil as it has immense capacity in connection with commercial market and human development too.
What kind of stories do you narrate through puppets?
A: I narrate my story as a social observer and communicate my message to the mass in the form of social education. I deal with the story giving equal importance to social and entertainment values. My story may be selected from mythology, history or folk tale, but I do interpret the same with a contemporary social message. During the last 20 years, I have written a number of scripts on social issues.
What can be done to further popularize the art form of puppetry?
A: According to a contemporary survey report on puppetry, the traditional puppet is defusing day by day due to some static-mentality of the puppeteers. Whereas the modern- puppetry is being popular day to day, due to its advance technique, dramatic application and pre-recording audio system.
I feel that traditional forms can be re-invented if puppeteers are trained by experts. Everything in our society is changing. So, the art form must adapt itself to the changing needs.
What are you currently doing?
A: After retiring from my job in 2006, I am devoting all my time to puppetry. Initially, I was training young students in toy making and theatrical activities. These days, I travel a lot to different states, conducting workshops for NGOs, universities and govt. departments.
What are your future plans?
A: I wish to disseminate techniques of puppetry & toy making to students.