Sanjay & His Master : An Indo-German Musical Puppet Show @Thiruvananthapuram

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Sanjay, a young man, leaves home to pursue his dream – to be a musician. He reaches a market place and starts to play his sitar. His music, however, is not well received. Sanjay then decides to train with renowned court musician and sitar maestro Rajad. Sanjay improves under Rajad’s tutelage. He falls for Rajad’s daughter, Nandita. Wanting to be close to Nandita, he aspires to be a court musician like his guru. The king, however, requires just one musician. He decrees that the duo fight for the post of court musician. And so, with heavy hearts, the guru and his shisya meet in a battle of the sitar.

To discover what happens next in this tale adapted from an old Buddhist story, head over to Co-Bank Towers, Thiruvananathapuram at 7 p.m. on Friday where the rest of the tale of Sanjay and his Master unfolds.

Directed by Dadi Padumjee and produced by Stephan von Lowis, Sanjay and his Master is a unique Indo-German puppet-music-theatre show that is layered with Hindustani classical music. The heroes of the play are large puppets.

Multiple Roles

Says Dadi, veteran puppeteer and founder of The Ishara Puppet Theatre Trust: “We are working with puppets that are almost as big as children. They are three to four feet tall and have moveable joints. Renowned puppeteer Matthias Kuchta directs them on stage. He has multiple roles on stage. He is the puppeteer, the narrator, and the voice for the various characters on stage. There are four to five characters in the play.”

Fond of Indian music, Stephen says music is an integral part of the show. Adds Dadi: “The story of Sanjay and his Master is about a man who wants to learn music. The play gives the audience an impromptu class in music. Our idea is to popularise and create an appreciation for Indian music amongst youngsters.”

The Indo-German collaboration began when a delegation from the Hamburg Cultural Ministry in Germany came to India. Says Stephen: “I was a part of the delegation and met Dadi. I was impressed with his work and linked him up with Matthias. For this venture, two very different puppeteers come together.Dadi’s style of work is completely different from Matthias’. Dadi works with more people on stage, big movements and elements of dance. Matthias, on the other hand, usually works solo. This artistic cooperation has enriched the theatrical language of both artistes as these elements and visual styles merge on stage.”

The play by KinderKinder in association with The Ishara Puppet Theatre Trust is being brought to the city by Goethe Zentrum Thiruvananthapuram. Free passes for the show are available at Goethe Zentrum Thiruvananthapuram. Contact: 3013018.

About the Team

Dadi Pudumjee – The Director

Dadi Pudumjee studied  at the Darpana Academy of Performing Arts – Puppetry Section under the Late Meher Contractor and later at the NID National Institute of Design and further at the the Marionette Theatre Institute in Stockholm, Sweden. He studied puppetry under Michael Meschke. He worked as a guest director at the Puppentheater, Berlin, in 1979. In 1980, he founded the Sutradhar Puppet Theatre at the Shri Ram Centre for Art and Culture in New Delhi and was its artistic director until 1986, after which he set up his own puppet company, The Ishara Puppet Theatre Trust. He has traveled widely to perform as well as teach in many countries including the U.K., Russia, Japan, Australia, Indonesia, Brazil, U.S.A, Sweden, Singapore, South Africa, Spain. Pudumjee and his troupe performed a version of the Vikram-Betaal myth at New York’s La MaMa Theater.

Pudumjee’s puppetry is not restricted to the more common versions of string- and hand-puppets. He has also used semi-sculptural puppets that are attached to actors’ bodies and carried across stage.

Over the year he has worked extensively with children, especially street children, including his 2007 project with street children of Salaam Baalak Trust, for UNESCO Paris and the EU for projects on non-formal education that address HIV and substance use. In April 2008 he was elected the president of UNIMA for a four year term.

Ishara Puppet Theatre Trust organises the annual Ishara International puppet festival each year in Delhi. Ishara conducts workshops for various organisations and NGOs in Delhi and India.

The Musicians

Subroto Roy Chowdhury

Subroto Roy Chowdhury (sitar) studies and explores the sitar since his childhood days ans is a respected master of the instrument. Subroto plays north-Indian classical music and has been educates in the pures tform of the Senia-tradition. In 1969 he was given the title of Surmani. In 77 he was voted the Indian musician of the year. For the last 20 years Subroto is touring regulaly in Europe.

Anjan Saha

Anjan Saha (sitar & vocal) is a devoted disciple of Guru Debiprosad Chatterjee, of Maihar Gharana, Anjan is an Empanelled artist of Indian Council for Cultural Relation. Anjan is a Graded artist of All India Radio and Doordarshan Kendra Kolkata. Anjan is an eminent Music Director also. Anjan has been performing in India as well as Abroad.

Swapan Bhattacharya

Swapan Bhattacharya (tabla) is the sun of a Kolkatta family of musicians. He has bben taught by Pandit Shyamal Bose, one of the most renowned tabla teachers in the world. He was given the “Master degree of Music” in Allahabad 1985 and tought in the musical centre “Surekheya”. Swapan worked for some years in Hamburg and toured the world with many well known musicians from Pakistan and India. Recently Swapan moved back to his hometown Kolkatta.

Sourced from The Hindu &

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