The Kathputli show on Sunday night by Jagdish Bhatt called ‘No Strings Attached’ at Rock Heights made for a fun, entertaining show. ‘Bangal’ and ‘Behrupia’ were two puppet characters that stole the show. The performance called Bangal ka Kaala Jaadu entertained audience the most with acrobatic moves, while Behrupia left many viewers awestruck at the gender transformation of the puppet on stage.
Jagdish Bhatt’s troupe kick-started the performance with a narrative musical and went on to introduce the characters of the show. Making the kathputhlis dance with his fingers, Jagdish Bhatt first introduced the audience to Ghode Raja, who tried to capture the attention of the audience, but could not, as there was nothing fascinating about him. What elicited a lot of applause was the character Bangal, who lifted the spirits of the audience with his amazing body stunts. Kids enjoyed his performance thoroughly.
Jogi Champanathi, a snake charmer puppet, made a snake dance to his melodious tunes. To conclude the show came the queen of hearts, Rajasthani gypsy dancer, who showed the audience her Shakira-like moves. Moving her waist to traditional Rajasthani tunes, she was a true Hindustani dancer, but the audience could not ignore her Shakira side as well. Complementing the acts was the background music which was apt to the setting.
Overall, the show was received well by the audience, but a few viewers could not get a hang of what was happening. Some in the audience complained that it would have been better if a small story was knit around the characters. On being asked why a story was not presented, Jagdish Bhatt told us that he was in a bad shape, and was planning to cancel the event owing to a sudden bout of cold and fever. He did on stage whatever he could have done, feeling weak as he was, he said.
As part of the Krishnakriti Festival of Art and Culture, Jagdish Bhatt and troupe had also organised a Kathputhli workshop on Saturday at Chitramayee State Gallery of Fine Arts. Students from Indus International School and a few other kids participated and learnt the craft of making puppets.