South Asia / Books


Kathputli: The world of rajasthani puppeteers

by Nazir Ali Jairazbhoy


This book explores Rajasthani string marionette puppetry and the views and attitudes expressed by hereditary kathpulti Bhat puppeteers. From the history of puppetry and related bardic traditions in India, to ingenious modern adaptations of the tradition, it elucidates performance content and context, preparations and practices, including traditional songs, puppet manipulation, and the boli voice modifier. The “story behind the story” of the hero Amar Singh Rathor, central to the kathputli tradition but rarely understood by audiences, is explained based on Bhat oral tradition, derived from 47 interviews and performances, throwing a unique light on the historical figure. The book complements the fictive documentary video, Retooling a Tradition, elucidating it as only a scholarly written work can do. 280 pages, 93 color/b&w illustrations, song texts, musical notations, bibliography, index.


ISBN 1-880519-30-5 Hard Back $45 + S&H
ISBN 1-880519-31-3 Paper Back $35 + S&H

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