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Ramdas Padhye is an Indian ventriloquist, puppeteer and puppet-maker. Over the last 40 years, he has performed more than 9000 ventriloquism and puppet shows in India and abroad. His website is the first Indian website on ventriloquism and puppetry. He has been regularly featuring on India' National Channel Doordarshan since 1972. He was the first Indian ventriloquist to perform ventriloquism and puppet-based shows on NBC, ABC and CBS television in America, and BBC's Channel Four. The art of ventriloquism, popularly known as "bolkya bahulya" or "talking dolls" or "shabdabhram" or "voice illusion", is not well known in India. He has given the traditional Indian Puppets and Ventriloquial dolls the technological edge by upgrading them to international standards without losing their Indian identity and universal appeal. Padhye received formal training in the art of ventriloquism and the use of talking puppets from his father, late Prof. Y. K. Padhye, who introduced India to this art around 1920 in its modern format. In 1968, at the age of 23, he performed before the Prime Minister of India Late Smt. Indira Gandhi in New Delhi. Spurred by her advice to give distinct Indian touch to the art, Padhye introduced several Indian puppets/dolls with whom the Indian masses could readily identify themselves. He then selected several themes of national importance such as "Family Planning", "Small Savings", "Child Education", and "Grow more Food" etc. for his shows and presented them with the help of his witty and entertaining puppets. He regularly visited the hospitals and brought cheers to the lives of Cancer patients and mentally retarded children.
Puppets in films
His puppets are have also been used in many feature films:
- Mahan, featuring Amitabh Bachchan, Zeenat Aman and Praveen Babhi
- Dil Hai Tumhaara featuring Jimmy Shergill & Priety Zinta, directed by Kundan Shah
- Puppet based horror film Zapatlela (Marathi) directed by Mahesh Kothare starring Laxmikant Berde directed by Mahesh Kothare
- Puppet based horror film Ammo Bhomma (Telugu) starring Dr. Rajendra Prasad
- Padhye has also designed the Puppet Doll in Ramgopal Verma's Phoonk 2
Puppets on Indian Television
Padhye's puppets regularly featured on the National television "Doordharshan". His show featured in 1972, when the television first started in Mumbai. His puppets "Ardhavatrao" and "Awadabai" are still remembered by many Indians who have grown up seeing his puppets. Padhye has performed several television shows and television specials. His shows include "Meri Bhi Suno", a popular show which gave a social messages with the help of puppets. The show called "Aap He Sochiye" became extremely popular amongst the youth. Padhye performed several acts along with his wife Aparna in the 1980s and 1990s. Aparna is an accomplished singer and puppeteer in her own rights and regularly assists Padhye in his shows. Together they performed a unique ventriloquist show on television. The speciality of this show was the husband-and-wife theme with the puppets.
Padhye also performed various television specials along with his puppet "Bunny", which was popular because of the Lijjat Papad advertisement.
His recent achievements include puppet serial for Singapore TV – 12 where more than 50 puppets were created by Padhye in his exclusive puppet studio. This is the first time that a foreign TV station has invited Indian Puppeteer for a full fledged puppet serial. Puppets created & operated for "Playhouse Disney" a show for Disney Channel. Walt Disney International Pvt. Ltd chose Padhye for this job."Playhouse Disney" show was produced by Miditech Pvt. Ltd., one of leading production houses in India. They show featured a puppet called "Mitz" which interacted with a live anchor.
Another popular TV serial is "Misha" on Zee Marathi. The protagonist of the show "Misha" (the puppet) was an alien who solved the problems of his friend. This serial was directed by Kedar Shinde. This serial became instantly popular amongst the children. The puppet was operated by Padhye and his son Satyajit Padhye. It was made by Padhye in his puppet studio.
Padhye and his team of trained puppeteers are behind the new show Juicy Pammi on India's leading Lifestyle channel "ZOOM". The puppets are designed and created in Padhye's "Puppet Studio". The show features Puppets of India's various celebrities, like Amitabh Bachchan, Shahrukh Khan, Sanjay Dutt, to name a few. The lead puppeteers behind the show are Padhye, wife Aparna and son Satyajit Padhye. Besides these there are 10 skilled puppeteers who help the lead puppeteers. Each celebrity puppet is created by Padhye in his Puppet Studio. Each celebrity puppet takes 20 days to design. The puppets are made from composite materials like latex, rubber, foam latex etc. Padhye's Puppet studio has a collection of different puppets from around the world. Padhye's Puppet Studio has designed puppets of various international celebrities like George W Bush, Bill Clinton, and Marilyn Monroe
Puppets in advertisements
The Indian advertising industry has also used his puppets in many commercials, the famous being the Lijjat Papad commercial featuring his puppet Bunny. This famous commercial features his puppet Bunny eating Papad (a popular Indian snack). This advertisement made Padhye an household name. In fact, the product became very popular because of the use of the puppet "Bunny" and the sales of the product skyrocketed. The main highlight of this advertisement was that Padhye himself operated the puppet as well as gave the voice-over. The last tagline of the advertisement "Karram Kurram" became very popular. Also the typical laughter of the bunny at the end of the advertisement became an identity for the product. This advertisement first aired on Doordharshan in the 1980s. However, it is still running on several channels. This advertisement gave Padhye and his puppets a distinct identity. This advertisement was the starting point of a successful career in Ventriloquism and Puppetry.
Padhye has also done a commercial for Annapurna Namak with ad-man "Gyaan Currea". His another advertisement includes a ventriloquist act for the product "Krackjack" which is popular biscuit brand in India.
Padhye has also done a commercial for Tata Sky with Aamir Khan. In this ad, Aamir Khan plays a ventriloquist and his puppet is a TV. The entire concept of the ad for Tata Sky revolves around the puppet with Aamir playing the Ventriloquist. In fact he being, a perfectionist learnt from the nuances of Ventriloquism from Padhye. He had seen his shows on TV when he was in school. Ventriloquism being a difficult art cannot be taught in a day or two. Hence the puppet was operated by Padhye from below, whereas Aamir just imitated as a Ventriloquist. The concept of the ad revolves around TV being becoming your puppet. Due to the Active Services introduced by Tata Sky people can literally do anything with their TV. The puppet for the advertisement has been designed and made by Karl Evans from Karl Evans Studio.
Padhye was roped in by Europe’s leading Ad-Agency "Alfred" to do a commercial for Holland TV Channel. The Ad-film was just for 35 seconds, however it was shot extensively for 4 days at various locations in Jaipur and Goa. It was a cookie commercial and the name of the product was "Sultana Cookies". Holland’s leading model "Renske van der Sluis" worked with the puppet. The puppet was operated by Padhye and his son Satyajit Padhye. The Ad-film was directed by Holland’s Ad-filmmaker "Rick Lenzing", whose production house "In Case of Fire" has done various commercials around the world.
He has also represented India at several international puppetry conventions like Vent Haven Convention in U.S.A., World Festival of Puppet Art in Prague, International Ventriloquist Festival in Las Vegas. His book called "Inner Voice" is the first Indian book on Ventriloquism inaugurated at the Vent Haven Convention, Cincinnati, U.S.A. He has exported puppets to various countries including U.S.A, Canada, New Zealand, Singapore, Cambodia, South Africa from traditional Indian Puppets to Modern Radio Controlled Puppets in his exclusive puppet studio.
His future plans include designing and presenting "Water Puppetry" and "Air Puppetry" using water and sky as background instead of a regular stage, basing his ideas on environmental themes. He also plans to establish a fully-fledged institute for ventriloquism and allied arts in India.
Padhye's Puppet Studio
Padhye has his own "Puppet Studio" where he designs different kinds of puppets right from string puppets, rod puppets, marionettes, ventriloquial puppets, muppets, body puppets, animatronics puppets, black light puppets, celebrity puppets.
Padhye has designed puppets for various companies like Kelloggs, Siemens, Walt Disney India Pvt Ltd, Wizcraft etc. He has also designed puppets of various international celebrities like Marilyn Monroe, George W Bush, Bill Clinton, Frank Sinatra, Amitabh Bachchan, Shahrukh Khan, Sanjay Dutt. Padhye's Puppet Studio literally gives birth number of characters.
Padhye has also designed puppets for several ad-films, television serials, feature films. He has also exported the puppets to various countries like U.S, U.K, New Zealand, Cambodia, South Africa.
Padhye mastered the art of making the puppets in the 1980s. Earlier he used to get his puppets from other countries. However, as he started requiring more specific puppets for his own shows, he later on started building the puppets as per the requirements of the clients.
Speciality of Padhye's Puppet Studio is that, he designs custom-made puppets. They are designed keeping in mind the specific needs of users. This has made Padhye very popular in India. Padhye has also designed the puppet "Tatya Vinchu" from the famous feature film "Zapatlela". In the film Zapatlela, Padhye designed 9 replicas of the protagonist, so that it could do all kinds of action sequences in the film. Padhye used combination different kinds of puppetry techniques like string, rod, muppets etc. for this film.
Padhye has also designed puppets for the play "Good Night Baby Dino" which was written and directed by Bharat Dabolkar. It was a children's play which was based on the dinosaur family and which consisted of almost 50 custom design puppets.
Satyajit Padhye, Padhye' son, is a third generation ventriloquist and puppeteer. Performing his own shows, he targets younger Indian audiences. Satyajit performs birthday party, corporate and wedding shows. He has been an assistant puppeteer with his father for almost 10 years. He has also produced a documentary on AIDS which uses this art of puppetry to create awareness regarding AIDS. Satyajit has also represented India at the Japan Ventriloquist Festival in Tokyo in 2002. He has won several awards in his high school and inter-collegiate events like Malhar and Youth Festival. Satyajit is also the lead puppeteer for the show "Juicy Pammi" which is on-air on ZOOM channel in India. Satyajit also helps his father in designing the puppets in Padhye's "Puppet Studio". Satyajit also participated in India's Got Talent and was one of the finalist, although he failed to win the contest but he made everyone his fan by his strong performance.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ramdas Padhye.|
- Ramdas Padhye's Official Website
- Ramdas Padhye's Videos
- Ramdas Padhye's Work on TV and Films
- Puppet designed by Ramdas Padhye for various clients
- PuppetVision Blog: Ramdas Padhye on YouTube
- Zapatlela (1993)
- The Tribune, Chandigarh, India - Education Tribune
- Rockwood's Presidential Puppets Website
- The Puppet master behind Obama by Shweta Desai
- AIDS The Deadline - indie.SmasHits.com - "AIDS - The Deadline" is a Short Film on AIDS awareness released on the occasion of the World AIDS Day on 1 December 2006. This film is unique and different, in the sense that, it uses Puppetry medium to pro...