Bener Putul is a traditional glove puppetry of West Bengal. This art form is generally found in the southern regions of the state. ‘Bener Putul’ literally means dolls of commercial people.
The puppets are of one-and-half feet high. Heads of the puppet are made out of terracotta and arms out of wood. They have anklets fixed to their arms to produce rhythmic sounds by their clapping movements. A male and a female puppet are held by a puppeteer during a show.
The theme of the puppet show mostly centers on some social events like language differences among people, elopement of lovers or family planning. During the show, the puppeteer sings songs and plays a small drum called ‘domru.’ The music is mostly based on traditional folk tunes or songs taken from a popular movie.
The puppeteers belong to a lower caste called ‘kahar’. They are usually land-less laborers and lead a nomadic life, performing shows at various fairs. Their livelihood generally depends on the puppet show.