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Tolpava Koothu: Shadow Puppets of Kerala

G. Venu (Author)
Synopsis A form of traditional puppetry from Kerala, Tolpava Koothu-originating in the Bhagavati temples of Palghat district-presents the Ramayana story as told by Kambar, the Tamil epic poet, in the kamba Ramayana. In 21 pars, over 21 evenings, the story is enacted in koothu-madmas or temple theatres before eager local audience. Part ritual, part instruction, and a form of entertainment inseparable from rural life in Kerala, Tolpava Koothu is an art demanding knowledge of the scriptures together with skill in delivery, diction, and puppet manipulation. This monograph provides a basic introduction to the Tolpava Koothu-setting out its cultural background, associated rituals, as well as specifics of stage, illumination, music, puppets and their manipulation, A day-wise synopsis of the story as presented in 21 parts, select scenes from Tolpava Koothu, lists of puppets and temples where the art is practiced help to bring alive the subject to the reader.
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About the author

G. Venu

G.Venu (b. 1945) began studying Kathakali at 13 with some of the masters of the art. The first volume of his notated mudras of Kathakali, published by the Kerala Sangeet Nataka Akademi, Won the Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award in 1978. He has also notated 207 mudras and postures of Mahiniattam, published in 1983. G. Venu presented Tolpava Koothu at the International Festival of Asian Countries' Puppet Theatres at Tashkent in 1979. In 1984 he presented Pavakathakali, the traditional glove-puppet theatre of Kerala, at the XIth International Puppet Theatre Festival at Bielsko-Biala in Poland and in 1986 at the second Asian UNIMA regional Meeting at India in Japan. A recipient of the HOmi Bhabha Fellowship, he has worked for the revival of Tolpava Koothu, Pavaka-thakali, and Koodiyattam for a decade.

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Bibliographic information

Title Tolpava Koothu: Shadow Puppets of Kerala
Author G. Venu
Format Hardcover
Date published: 01.01.2006
Edition 1st ed.
Language: English
isbn 8178710994, 9788178710990
length 67p., Plates; Figures; Glossary; Appendices; 26cm.