File puptcrit/puptcrit.0503, message 117

Date: Mon, 21 Mar 2005 15:48:05 -0800
Subject: [Puptcrit] Ramdas in India News

Go Ramdas!

MUMBAI: "I have 1,500 children," says wellknown puppeteer and ventriloquist
Ramdas Padhye referring to his assortment of puppets. And even as the world
celebrates the art of puppetry on World Puppetry Day on Monday, he has one
more addition in his dollsville=ADhis latest is a Sachin Tendulkar puppet. "I
am a great fan of Sachin. As he has completed his 10,000 runs, I thought it
was the best time to bring out the Sachin puppet," says the man who left
his job as a mechanical engineer to pursue ventriloquism as a profession.

Though every day is World Puppetry Day for him, says Padhye. "I live in the
world of puppets," he adds. Photographs of his star puppets and innumerable
trophies adorn the walls of his drawing room and although all of them,
right from the papad-eating bunny, are special for him it's Ardhavat Rao
and Aavda Bai, Maharashtra's very own camera-savvy middle-class puppet
couple, who enjoy a special pedestal in his living room as well as his
heart. "They are now 83 years old," he says.

The legacy of the dolls can be traced to his father Y K Padhye=ADthe pioneer
of puppetry in India in the 1920s. The heritage now enjoys the support of
Padhye's entire family. His wife, Aparna, also a puppeteer, accompanies him
on various shows in India and abroad while his sons, Satyajit and
Parikshit, are training to be professional puppeteers.

But it's no easy profession, says Padhye. "Ventriloquism is the
sophisticated form of puppetry. It requires patience and daily riyaaz". And
for someone who has enthralled television, film and theatre audiences with
his rib-tickling shows for three decades now, he confesses to being a
rather "serious" man in real life. "It is very challenging to perform for
young children and entertain them. You have to be very alert, the illusion
should be 100%," he says. His puppets have rubbed shoulders with
film-makers and cine stars, Marathi blockbuster =91Zapatlela' and Amitabh
starrer =91Mahaan' being two of the highlights.

"The script demanded eight replicas of the supernatural puppet Tatya Vinchu
in the horror film =91Zapatlela'," he recounts. "But films have not yet
exploited the full potential of puppetry. There are many different
possibilities," adds the veteran whose hi-tech and marine puppet shows have
received acclaim.

The future will also see his puppets reign on children's television as
three international television channels have roped him in. "This is the
first time I am using this art form for preschoolers. It is challenging,"
he says, adding, "I am eager to have an institute offering professional
training in puppetry and ventriloquism."

Steve Axtell / Axtell Expressions, Inc.
Website -
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Original contents =A9 2005 all rights reserved.

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