Kundapur: Puppets from Uppinakudru win over hearts in three countries

Sylvester D' Souza / Vinay Pais
Daijiworld Media Network - Kundapur (EP)

Kundapur, March 13: Uppinakudru, an island in the taluk, has been widely known as the hometown of puppets.  The name Uppinakudru reminds us of excitingly colorful puppets of Sri Ganesh Yakshagana Puppetry troupe, which has carved out a niche for itself at the state, national, and international levels.

The troupe led by Uppinakudru Bhaskar Kogga Kamath, a group of sixth generation of puppet artistes, has quietly enriched the art of Yakshagana puppetry in the coastal region with the relentless pursuit of excellence by the forefathers of Kamath during the last 350 years. Kamath has sacrificed his bank job for devoting his entire time to this form of art.

It is but natural that the name of Uppinakudru puppet troupe comes to mind whenever one thinks of foreign tours by art troupes from this region. Sri Ganesha puppetry troupe has its own fans and followers all over the world because of entertaining and skillful presentations of the troupe.  The puppets that lollopped and danced in a beautiful way have succeeded in developing among its viewers a taste for Yakshagana puppetry, duly leaving a lasting impression in three countries recently visited by the troupe.

The troupe under the leadership of Bhaskar Kogga Kamath had been to Japan's Lida Festival for the third time recently.  The uniqueness of the visit was that three artistes in the troupe had gone to Japan ten day ahead of the troupe’s visit to participate in a workshop on Asian Puppetry Show and entertain the audience.  Bhaskar Kamath had participated in similar historic presentations in Lida Festival during the last two years and has been appreciated by them.  He has upheld the rich folklore culture of India through his puppetry shows.

The troupe then proceeded to Russia.  It was their first trip to that country.  The troupe successfully presented an episode, 'Choodamani-Lankadahana'. The puppets which came in various costumes and colors and the music that was played in the background were greatly appreciated by the Russian audience through thundering applause.  The experience of this visit is bound to linger in the memories of the artistes for long.  Their inability to use fire in the programme in view of earlier fire accidents was the only drawback.

The troupe proceeded to Belgium's Brussels from Russia.  Bhaskar Kamath's programme was held in a large hall in Brussels, the capital of Belgium,  in view of 'Europalia' festival.  The large cutouts of Kamath's puppets excited the visitors and enabled to provide the show wide publicity.  The 'Choodamani Lankadahana' episode was presented there without the use of fire as per tradition.

The puppet show drew attention of the audience and generated good response. Many people were moved by this art and the show.  Some of them showed interest in learning this art form.  They were overawed at the composition of this art and the specialty of puppets.  Well known puppetry artists from elsewhere were present to view the show. Kamath presented a workshop on Yakshagana puppets and their dance to the children in Belgium that attracted them towards this kind of art.

The troupe’s trip to Russia and Belgium was sponsored by Delhi Indian Council for CulturalRrelations, while the trip to Japan was sponsored by Japan's Puppet Theatre.

Bhaskar Kogga Kamath's dream project, Puppet Academy, is taking shape under the sponsorship of Dr P Dayananda Pai at Uppinakudru.  Dr Sudha Murthy of Infosys Foundation has joined hands with the project.  If it materializes soon, people from many other countries will be able to appreciate the beauty and specialty of this art.  Our united effort is necessary to make this a reality.


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Comment on this article

  • vishwanath nayak, mangalore\BANGALORE

    Sun, Mar 16 2014

    I wish more and more people take interest in these art and cultural activity ( including myself :)) and spread this to all over the world and same from other country. this how the Art is exchanged and understood. We will understand each other better.

    All the best Mr.Kamath. Surely i will visit your Academy once it is ready.

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  • Dadi Pudumjee, Delhi

    Fri, Mar 14 2014

    Bhaskar and his troupe are doing excellent work in continuing the tradition , my congratulations to all of them..
    Dadi Pudumjee

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  • Chandrashekhar, Kundapura / Basrur

    Thu, Mar 13 2014

    I have seen quite a few shows during my school/college days. No doubt this is an extra-ordinary form of art… Hats-off !!

    Over 2-3 decades, doubt in my mind is “Why this troupe restricting to a limited number of plots (prasangas) like Lanka-Dahana, Chooda-mani, Shamantaka-mani & 1 or 2 others ??”. Seems monotonous & to make more interesting, there are enough Pouranika Prasangas available in Ramayana & Mahabarata. They should definitely try-out !!

    All the best…

    DisAgree [1] Agree [5] Reply Report Abuse

  • Glen Mendonca, Tallur/Dubai

    Thu, Mar 13 2014

    Congratulations Mr. Bhasker Kamath, happy to read your achievements and keeping our Uppinakudru name on International level, wish you all the best......

    DisAgree [1] Agree [5] Reply Report Abuse

  • Agnello, Mangalore/Muscat

    Thu, Mar 13 2014

    I salute you Bhaskar Kogga Kamath.Congrats to you and your team. I will definitely make a point to visit your shows if I am around.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [3] Reply Report Abuse

  • Nagesh Nayak, Mangalore

    Thu, Mar 13 2014

    Congratulations Mr. Bhaskar Kogga Kamath & Team !! Wishing you all the best.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [7] Reply Report Abuse

  • Navin, Kundapur

    Thu, Mar 13 2014

    Great, congratulations dear Basker K. Kamath we wish you best success in future too..

    DisAgree [1] Agree [5] Reply Report Abuse

  • Godwin Mendonca, Tallur / Kuwait

    Thu, Mar 13 2014

    I am proud of you my friend. I still remember the days when we used to meet and exchange smiles. Such a simple person like his father. May God give him success and good health.

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  • Vincent Rodrigues, Katapadi/Bangalore

    Thu, Mar 13 2014

    Puppet is a great art expertised by the people who stay in Uppinakudru.Glad to note that Puppets from Uppinakudru win over hearts in three countries.Hope they improve this art still better and become the world famous.All the best.Thanq.

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  • KRPrabhu, Bangalore

    Thu, Mar 13 2014

    Hats off to Dear Bhaskar Kogga kamath,Uppinakudru for carrying forward the legecy of your forefathers.I have viewed the puppet show yakshagana in Badagu thittu style last year in Bunts RNS Auditorium,Vijayanagar here.It was really unforgettable entertainment.Dr.P.Dayanand Pai mam as well as Dr.Sudhamurthy of Infosys Foundation deserves appreciation for sponsoring Kamaths Puppet Academy.

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