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The moving magic of puppetry

Staff Reporter

CHENNAI: For Vivek Sudharshan, puppets are not mere entertainment tools. With his nimble hand movements, he transforms them into teachers of science.

Mr. Sudharshan took up puppetry as a profession soon after he attended the National Children Science Congress in 1994. He became a science communicator and began to teach science through puppetry for children in rural areas.

He, along with seven other participants of the National Children Science Congress, has now made an entry into Bollywood through the movie ‘Impatient Vivek.'

Briefing presspersons here on Wednesday, B. K. Tyagi, scientist, Vigyan Prasar, Department of Science and Technology, said the group networked among themselves to innovate new methods of teaching science. The film, releasing on January 7, is a love story interspersed with scenes that portray Mr. Sudharshan's puppetry skills.

“The film is a commercial movie, but with a message of what happens when a college student decides to take up an off-beat job like puppetry.

It also captures the psyche of a puppeteer,” Dr.Tyagi said. The film is also being dubbed in Tamil, christened ‘Kadhal Galatta.' It is being released in 140 theatres in the State, he added.

Mr.Sudharshan who holds a doctorate in ‘Role of Science Communication in Rural Development,' has written a handbook on science teaching in schools. The team of youngsters will also soon launch a music album on bio-diversity.

The album, slated for release in March, will feature songs on disappearance of house sparrows, and richness of bio-diversity in the country.

Innovation

Observing that puppetry as a medium of education has been well received in Tamil Nadu, Mr.Tyagi said all the 300 science clubs in the State are actively involved in innovating teaching techniques through puppetry.

In all, there are 12,000 science clubs in 449 districts in the country and the Department of Science and Technology has plans to cover as many district as possible, he added.

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