Kuth Putli Ka Tamasha

By Anjum Khan

KUTH PUTLI KA TAMASHA the age old form of entertainment which involved human look alike cloth made figurines attached to strings and controlled and manipulated by skillfull hands, called the “puppeteers “ has almost lost its existence from the face of Indo Pakistan yet slowly and surely it has gained immense popularity and interest in the West,infact they picked up fromwhere we left and went to the next level by using it as an education form for kids instead for just few laughs.
Our kind of puppetry probably started in the times of Maha Rajas times it’s distinctive look speaks up for that time, clothed in typical brocade Sherwanis and chamkelay gararas and Shahi pugris, the male puppets have up turned mustaches and pointy beards it makes them look as a replica of a Mughal Darbaan of the Mughal erra.
There was a distinct sound made in the name of music played with a mouth seetee while showing the Tamasha
It Sounded like the old fashioned Gudda Guriyas seetis put in the back which made a sound when pressed hard in the chest or moved back and forth I hope u r getting the sound I am trying you to get ..
Anyways as it is it is fastly fading in our side of the world which is sad.
I remember once in our school there was a puppet show held, that was the first and last time I saw real life puppet show.. the puppets just swayed right and left in the name of some kind of dance their strings attached to their bodies were controlled by fast moving two hands… honestly speaking it was quite boring to watch .
They could have innovated it to make it more interesting.
The art of modern Puppetry was best used in Pakistan by Farooq Qaiser He went abroad to get special training in the task and came back to present the most popular puppet show ever in the history of Pakistan Television called KALYAN, it’s characters were not moved by strings instead hands were put in the puppets mouths to open and close to lip synch the dialogues spoken in the background by the team members the other hand was used to give each puppet a hand with a white glove for making hand gestures ..
It became so popular that it lasted for years it’s characters became household names… since my article is not specifically on that particular show alone so I am not putting names of the puppets in kalyan ..( besides I already did an article on that show sometime ago )
Kehney ka matlab Yeh hai key That was the kind of impact those simple puppets had on us ..Similarly in the West it was used in the ever popular kids educational show SESAME STREET which is enjoyed by the kids in the world over.
Amid all this our historical puppets have vanished to large extend or it seems .. in remote villages it’s still used as a form of entertainment which in a way is keeping it alive for the time,
Folk songs are sung in the background while the puppets sway their way to gather some money from the clapping audience.
It has lost it’s place in big cities completely though which really is a shame ..this age old folk style puppetry should have been supported fully by our Art, cultural and heritage dept.
Ironically our new generation and the tiny tots who live in the cities will never ever know what in the world is a ,
KHUT PUTLI KA TAMASHA.

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About Amin H. Karim MD

Graduate of Dow Medical College Class of 1977.
This entry was posted in Entertainment in Old Karachi. Bookmark the permalink.

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