Born in 1931 in a family of traditional story-tellers, Shri Mahipatray Kavi is unique among contemporary
puppeteers of Gujarat. While he has promoted the traditional puppetry of the region – especially the
Veddy form of northern Gujarat – he has also helped create a modern puppet theatre in the State and
applied the puppeteer’s art with imagination in pedagogy.
Shri Mahipatray was trained in puppetry at the Darpana Academy of Performing Arts under Mehar Contractor. Here, he acquired a command over the main forms of puppetry – glove, string, rod, and shadow – and went on to create a substantial body of puppet plays. He has written about a hundred and fifty puppet plays and has over a hundred puppet productions to his credit. He has made more than a dozen puppet serials for television on various subjects. In the field of education, Shri Mahipatray has used puppetry in the teaching of mathematics, geography, science and communication and also in teachers’ training. He has presented more than two thousand shows in India and about five hundred shows abroad – in France, Denmark, Italy, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the Gulf states. Besides, he has two novels, six stage plays, and five collection of poetry to his credit. He has also published many articles on puppetry and the folk arts.
Shri Mahipatray Kavi has received many awards, including the Gaurav Samman of the Gujarat Sangeet Natak Akademi (1993-1994); the Meghani Puraskar of the Department of Youth and Cultural Activity, Gujarat (2000-2001); and the Mehar Contractor Award conferred by the USTA-TE Foundation, Ahmedabad (2011). He has received a Senior Research Fellowship in puppetry from the former Department of Culture, Government of India.
Shri Mahapatray Kavi receives the Sangeet Natak Akademi Tagore Award for his contribution in the field of puppetry.