Puran Bhaat

Born in 1952 in Delhi, Shri Puran Bhaat belongs to a family practising Kathputli ka Nach hereditarily. He learned the traditional art from his father Shri Malu Ram initially. Later, evolving into a practitioner of the present day, he trained in modern modes of puppetry under Shrimati Meher Contractor, Shri S. Rahi, and Shri Dadi Pudumjee among other artists. Shri Puran Bhaat has earned acclaim for his mastery over string puppetry of the Kathputli tradition, and for developing it into a fine art. The value of his work lies in advancing the front- iers of his traditional art through his knowledge of puppetry practised in a wider sphere. Shri Bhaat has also dealt with new subjects in his work as a puppeteer, creating plays promoting social objectives such as literacy, population control, and a better natural environment. He has worked on many projects with Bal Bhavan and the National Centre for Educational Research and Training in Delhi, and also with companies such as the Ishara Puppet Theatre, the NSD Repertory, and the Sri Ram Puppet Theatre. Shri Bhaat has performed extensively in India and West Europe. In 2000 and 2002, he conducted workshops in Kathputli puppets in France, where several of his students belong. A versatile artist, Shri Bhaat has also played roles in several plays directed by Shri Bhanu Bharati, and has acted in Shekhar Kapur’s film Bandit Queen. Shri Puran Bhaat receives the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for his contribution to the tradi- tional puppetry of Rajasthan.