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“On a mission to educate Ventriloquism in Indian language”, Ventriloquist Niranjana in Kuwait

IIK Staff Reporter Tuesday, October 17, 2023
“On a mission to educate Ventriloquism in Indian language”, Ventriloquist Niranjana in Kuwait

Many a time, we must have seen a puppet talking in a TV show and wonder from where the sound is coming. Many might have wondered what kind of art this is... Here is one lady who started this act from the age of six.

Ventriloquist Niranjana, popularly known as Neena, was in Kuwait last week for the highly successful Indian Talent Forum event organised by Gangai Gopal. In a brief chat with Neenu talks about what is Ventriloquism and how she progressed to this exciting art.

Ventriloquism is a performance act in which a person (a ventriloquist) creates the illusion that their voice is coming from elsewhere, usually through a puppet. It’s the unique ability of the performer to seemingly throw his or her voice so that it appears to be coming from a direction different than the source.

As the daughter of Venky, a popular ventriloquist based in Tamil Nadu, Neena got this interest from her own father. "Every child has this dream of talking to their dolls. We talk to our dolls and pamper it. As a daughter of a ventriloquist, in my life the dolls were actually talking and I was very curious about it. I used to keep my own dolls and pretend like I am talking to the doll and it is responding. This created an interest in me and brought me to where I am today," Neena said. She used to perform with her father when she was 3 or 4 years old. At the age of six, she did her first solo performance on the stage.

"It’s all about toning your voice. First you need to tone your own voice. Then you need to make a voice for the puppet. Same time you are talking as two different person and at any point of time you should not mix the voices together." Neena talks about how it all works. Every puppet should have its own voice. We should not replicate or swap the voice with other puppet. In my case, whatever happens, my puppets ‘Nikki’ has his own identity and voice and ‘Angelina’ has her own voice, Neena said pointing to her puppets ‘Nikki’ and ‘Angelina’.

The tough part is to talk without closing the lips. The difficulty is talking in our regional language. “For example, in Tamil, we have many words where the sound comes by closing and opening our lips such as amma.. etc, that we need to speak without closing our lips,” That is the challenge, Neena said. The hand movement is also very important. “Some people always keep on shaking the head of the puppet whereas actually when we speak, we never keep on shaking heads,” Neena explains. So every movement of the puppet we need to be clear about with our fingers, she said.

Neena is now on a mission to educate this art form to the coming generation. "In English there are few materials available to learn Ventriloquism, however I never seen any such material in Indian languages. I am now on a mission to create this learning material in Tamil," she said.

Like any other parents, her parents also did not accept her career choice when she said that she want to choose her father’s career when she grows up. Her mother, Dr. Nikkila was a naturopathic and thus Neena also ended up with a career in Acupuncture and completed her MD in Acupuncture.

However the break came when she participated in the famous Tamil reality show KPY (Kalakka Pavdhu Yaaru) Season 8 on Star Vijay TV. Niranjana rose to fame as a Ventriloquist after that TV show and managed to grasp the attention of huge audiences with her spectacular skills. As the youngest Ventriloquist, she performed in many stages across India and overseas. She was invited to several television shows in Tamil and at present doing two TV shows - "Nikki Raid" on Blacksheep TV Channel and another one promoting movie shows with ‘Nikki’.

She believes that this art plays a significant role in her life and brings a sense of meaning to her existence. This is like bursting out something which is disturbing us from within ourselves. We can open up everything inside us through these puppets, which is a stress reliever. "At times, there are many things which we can’t speak to someone directly, but in my case, I can speak that through my puppet Nikki and Angelina," Neena said. The puppet's voice is a strong voice. It can say what you cannot in public. Through this I can express my inner feelings, she said.

Everyone have a voice running inside him or her. This is a space to vent it out. It’s like you are talking to yourself and venting out your stress. is now on WhatsApp Channel    Follow Channel

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