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Adult games

With bold themes, puppets are lending a new meaning to social entertainment, writes Devika Kodasi.

india Updated: May 26, 2006 15:46 IST

For most of us, puppets are an integral part of the sunshine realm of our minds. But many who happened to be at Olive or Hookah some moons ago, must have been surprised with topless puppets droning on sex. Are raunchy puppets the new social games?

Perhaps, because they are now speaking on ‘forbidden’ subjects like homosexuality and multiple partners and the audience don’t seem to mind. Varun Narain, who makes his puppets speak what many would shy of, has a whole range who have wacky jobs on stage — Habiba (“a dirty tarot card reader”), Salma (“an Arabian princess”), Hasina (“an eunuch in love with a seth”) and Electric Apsara.

Varun, who loves to twist the tale through his raunchy puppets, says, “Since a puppet is less personal, the audience’s inhibitions cease when it talks on sex.” Besides Delhi, Varun has performed in nightclubs and pubs in Mumbai and Amsterdam. He promises “more than you expect” in his next show, Latex Bhujia.

It’s not just dirty talk that these puppets indulge in. They are an important tool in spreading messages on taboo issues. Anurupa Roy, who has used puppets to present plays on women and gender issues, says, “Puppets are effective in dealing with topics like HIV and adolescence. I once made use of a character that played a Bollywood sex siren.” Though grown-up puppets have been around, it’s interesting how they have now entered the public domain of restaurants and pubs with people accepting them with an applause.