K Periyasamy's puppets do all the talking

It’s his love for the folk art form that keeps katta bommalattam artiste K Periyasamy going

“It was sometime around 1965. I was a teenager and I had travelled along with my father M Kuppuswamy and his bommalattam troupe to Tambaram. Actor M R Radha, who came to know we were camping there, invited us to a farm in Chennai and asked us to perform there. He thoroughly enjoyed the performance which lasted for about three hours. Finally, he garlanded the komali (clown puppet and presented a gold coin. That was the biggest recognition we’ve got till today,” reminisces katta bommalattam exponent K Periyasamy.

Periyasamy and his Sri Rama Krishna Bommalattam troupe from M Jalagandapuram, near Vazhapadi in Salem, recently performed at South Indian Puppet Festival organised by DakshinaChitra. Periyasamy says, “M R Radha appreciated our voice modulation and said that we breathed life into a wooden puppet.”

Periyasamy’s father, an agriculturist, took up katta bommalattam out of passion. Fascinated by the art and greatly inspired by stories from the epics, Periyasamy quit school and joined the troupe at the age of 12. Until the 90s, the artists thrived and all their shows ran to full houses. When he joined the troupe, tickets were sold at 20 Paisa per show, and today they charge ?30....Read more


Source web page: The Hindu

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