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Ventriloquism lives on in Padhye family

Tuesday, November 22, 2016
By Aishwarya Parameshwaran

India was introduced to the art of ventriloquism in the modern format during 1920s by Y. K. Padhye. He taught the art to his son, Ramdas Padhye who has now set a benchmark in the world of puppets. The art of ventriloquism was not very well known in the country, but Ramdas upgraded the puppets and made it up to the international standards. Although giving the technological edge to his puppets, Ramdas made sure that its Indian identity wasn't lost. Padhye’s was the first Indian website on ventriloquism and puppetry.

Padhye introduced several Indian puppets/dolls with whom the Indian masses could readily identify themselves. Padhyes have performed on various platforms on various themes. They concentrated more on  topics which were of national importance such as ‘Family Planning’, ‘Small Savings’, ‘Education’, and ‘Cultivation of more food' etc, and presented them with the help of his witty and entertaining puppets.

Ventriloquism has been a family tradition for the Padhye family and today the legacy is being carried out by Satyajit Padhye who is the third generation ventriloquist and puppeteer. Satyajit Padhye said, “I was in 2nd grade when I first performed with stick puppets, it was for a dental brand. I remember one of the surprises given by my parents, it was my school gathering and I had to perform my first ventriloquism show, the surprise was my parents were chief guests of the event. It feels great to carry forward the legacy of my grandfather Yeshwant Padhye. Although I am a chartered accountant by education I am really happy that talking with the puppets is my bread and butter and this art has given me more than what I can imagine. My childhood has always been special. I was always surrounded with not just toys but puppets which can talk. I think any art form keeps on changing and its presentation changes to keep up with  time. I think my father has done this over the years for last 49 years. He introduced new characters, then started building his own puppets with various materials, then he also used technology to introduce radio controlled or animatronic puppet characters and I believe in the potential for this art.”

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