THE PUPPET SHOW PROCESS Tholu Bommalata is the ancient folk art. The leather puppets are made with finished goat leather around 5 to 6 feet height with utmost skill by the artists themselves. These puppets are the painted with local made natural colours according to the nature of the roles. These colours are also prepared by the artists at their own. They design the curvatures and paint them. After that they are preserved very safely and securely for the use of anytime and anywhere. When demonstrating this Art in the form of puppetry show, they use a very thin and lengthy transparent cloth as the screen.
The team of six members including 2 women artists put the puppets on the screen with the lights behind and play with the puppets using their own voice both male and female with the support of Harmonium, Tabla, Taalam, Gajjelu, Thappeta and and wooden plate as their musical instruments. According to the scene and the context these artists move the puppets on the screen sing songs, deliver the dialogues and shlokas very systematically by the Raga and the Taala on behalf of the puppets. The whole play continues in Telugu. Though the mother tongue of these Artists is not TELUGU, they use very familiar Telugu in these plays. It looks like very natural movement of the roles who sit far away from the screen. The audience feel it very natural by immersing in the story and the relevant episode of the concerned epic.
Some people who are seeing the play use to break the coconuts when the important roles like Shri Krishna and Shri Rama arrives on the screen. That is the power of the puppet show. In olden days people use to say “ Must see the puppetry show even after going by walk 7 yojanas”. This show continues according to the people’s wish from 2 hours till whole night. For the sake of preservation of this ancient human play Art, it is being demonstrated even in the schools utilizing indoor facilities. Otherwise, it is demonstrated in public grounds forming a stage and making the arrangements. This art has to be supported and encouraged as well keeping in view of the preservation of ancient form of our folk arts. This is still practiced by us at par with the modern craft Art. All the public is requested to save this Art by providing sufficient support and encouragement in terms of all the required forms.