Puppetry is serious business: Anupama Hoskere, an engineer, breathes life into this traditional art form

The puppet business is not easy as it struggles to stay relevant.

BCCL
Anupama Hoskere with one of her creations.
BENGALURU: The fear of loss of Indian culture, identity and arts led Anupama Hoskere down the puppet theatre route. A master’s in engineering (ME), Hoskere is director of Dhaatu Puppets, a non-profit committed to the promotion of puppetry. It’s important that the current Indian society has knowledge of its people, she believes. “I realised that puppet theatre was a fun and powerful way of talking about stories that would help people relate to their heritage.”

Hoskere feels the reason traditional art forms like puppetry struggle is because of the socioeconomic challenges India faced after Independence. However, in the late 1970s, Europe started offering scholarships for puppeteers to train and Hoskere was awarded the Erasmus Mundus scholarship to teach Karnataka’s classical puppetry to postgraduate students in Nice, Belgium and Paris. “The reason they asked an Indian puppeteer to teach this art is because we have a structure that can be taught at a university. It is holistic,” she says.

Hoskere, along with a crew of artists at Dhaatu, carves and designs the puppets herself. It’s a long process. Typically, the artists first select the wood, season it, design the parts of the puppet for movement, carve the case with required expressions and carve the limbs and body. Then they move to doing the joints, painting the face and body, stitching costumes and finally stringing the puppets.


Being in the puppet business is not easy as it struggles to stay relevant. While initiatives like puppet festivals, which Dhaatu organised recently in Bengaluru, are helping, the art needs an economic model. “It would be nice if I can pay decent salaries to the artists. I struggle every time we do festivals and declare that we have no more money left. But I cannot give it up,” Hoskere says.

An installation of the revived Bhagavata style puppets of Karnataka, along with the Gajendra Moksha puppets, which have been used at the Guimet museum in Paris, drew a curious set of crowds at the festival held at VR Bengaluru. “Along with four shows a day, featuring stories from the Panchatantra, we also conducted workshops and training for budding puppeteers.” To breathe life into the art and get more youngsters involved, Hoskere also conducts classes and hands-on interactions with artists at her Banashankari workshop. “My goal is to create a puppet cultural centre with a theatre, museum, library and workshop in the city,” she says.

Sangakkara, Yuvi, Gary Kirsten: Retired Cricketers Who Scored Big In Their Second Innings As Businessmen
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Here are some cricketers who have dabbled with entrepreneurship to augment their considerable wealth post retirement.

Here are some cricketers who have dabbled with entrepreneurship to augment their considerable wealth post retirement.
Born in 1940, Fearnley had a phenomenal record at school level, but his professional career never took off. He began crafting cricket bats during the winter months to supplement his flagging income as a first class cricketer. A fringe player for Yorkshire, and then Worcestershire, Fearnley began marketing his gear among teammates and contemporaries. By the 1980s, the brand had acquired market dominance, with Ian Botham, Sunil Gavaskar, and Clive Lloyd among the cricketers using Fearnley products. The company currently produces roughly 5,000 bats a year and is popular among players in the county circuit.

(Image: Instagram/@rashwin99)
Born in 1940, Fearnley had a phenomenal record at school level, but his professional career never took off. He began crafting cricket bats during the winter months to supplement his flagging income ..
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The Sri Lankan duo, famous for amicably sharing captaincy during their playing days, now co-owns Ministry of Crab, a chain of seafood restaurants. The former cricketers roped in Dharshan Munidasa, a celebrity chef in their native Sri Lanka to export the island nation’s delicacies. The venture, which finds mention in Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list 2018, has outlets in Colombo, Shanghai Mumbai and Manila.
The Sri Lankan duo, famous for amicably sharing captaincy during their playing days, now co-owns Ministry of Crab, a chain of seafood restaurants. The former cricketers roped in Dharshan Munidasa, a..
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The former South African cricketer had a successful stint as coach of the Indian national team, guiding the Men in Blue to the World Cup title in 2011. Kirsten formed a close relationship with Paddy Upton, who served as the team’s Mental Conditioning coach during his tenure. They went on to co-found Performance Zone, a consultancy that helps individuals and businesses optimise their productivity. After quitting as India coach, he set up a travel agency in South Africa, while devoting time to the Gary Kirsten Cricket Academy, an elite facility that provides training to promising youngsters.
The former South African cricketer had a successful stint as coach of the Indian national team, guiding the Men in Blue to the World Cup title in 2011. Kirsten formed a close relationship with Paddy..
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“For years Inzy and I butchered bowlers. So we know what it takes to run a meat business,” Anwar said at the opening of Meat One, the food processing company he started with his former colleague. The portly Inzamam, who was notorious for running out non-strikers, exuded confidence that his business partnership with Anwar would bode well for both, as well as for the country. The venture, conceived with the intention of providing “quality halal meat”, is successful, even opening branches in the UAE.
“For years Inzy and I butchered bowlers. So we know what it takes to run a meat business,” Anwar said at the opening of Meat One, the food processing company he started with his former colleague. Th..
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A late bloomer, Doshi made his India debut in 1979, aged 32. His final appearance for the national team came four years later. The cricketer-turnedbusinessman is a self-acknowledged Rolling Stones fan, and was instrumental in bringing the British band to India in 2003. Doshi now serves as the CEO of the Ambiar Group, which has brought many international luxury brands to India. He entered into a partnership with Mont Blanc, but the relationship between the two parties soured. Some of the other global brands that are a part of Doshi’s portfolio in India include German pen brand Lamy and the 175-year-old Kahla Porcelain.
A late bloomer, Doshi made his India debut in 1979, aged 32. His final appearance for the national team came four years later. The cricketer-turnedbusinessman is a self-acknowledged Rolling Stones f..
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The left-handed batsman, best known for striking six sixes in an over, has been equally explosive with his investments. His seed fund, YouWeCan Ventures, has been consistently betting on startups since 2015. Singh, a cancer survivor, is still active in domestic cricket, but has not featured for the national team since 2017. Some of the startups he has backed include Holosuit, a virtual reality company, and Healthians, a service provider of home diagnostics. YouWeCan also runs a clothing brand which reported a turnover of Rs 30 crore last year. Singh’s foundation also works towards spreading awareness about cancer and funding the education of children who have survived the disease.
The left-handed batsman, best known for striking six sixes in an over, has been equally explosive with his investments. His seed fund, YouWeCan Ventures, has been consistently betting on startups si..
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