} Exclusive: In Conversation With India's First Female Ventriloquist- Indushree

Ventriloquism prodigy Indushree Raveendra’s talent speaks for itself. She is the winner of the Limca Book of Records and recipient of President of India’s award in 2018. She has already performed over 3,500 shows around the world. Isn’t that amazing?

Having said all that what describes Indushree the best, we interacted with her to find out more about her fascinating journey and know more about this bundle of Talent!

Q. You are India’s first female Ventriloquist. How do you feel about it?

It feels great, it’s a top of the world feeling. The glass ceiling is shattered, and I hope my acts inspire more women to take up ventriloquism. When I wanted  to learn ventriloquism many years ago, I was told that this art form was not for women , glad to have proven all of them wrong.

Q. How did you get into Ventriloquism and for how long have you been doing this?

I was in class 2 when a magician, our family friend, happened to visit my house. As the evening wore on, he presented an impressive coin trick. While the rest of the family stood in awe, I quietly took the coin and reproduced the trick with élan. That sowed the seeds of a budding magician in me. By and by, I began performing magic on stage and duly attended a magic convention where a monkey puppet caught my eye. My dad bought the puppet and I soon started grappling with the rudiments of ventriloquism. 
I sought the help of a ventriloquist in this regard, but he said that Ventriloquism is a strict no for girls. That set the ball rolling for a determined me. In those days there were no access to YouTube videos, and I had to rely totally on textual descriptions and commentaries in audio cassettes of Edgen Berger and Paul Winchell. I practiced long and hard before the mirror and slowly but surely came to grips with the rudiments of the art. 

Q. What has been one of the biggest moments of pride for you?

I performed my innovative act which is, polyphony (used in-animate objects like coffee mug, microphone, a hat and a book instead of puppets) amidst the stalwarts of ventriloquism at Vent Haven Convention, Kentucky USA. It was well received by one and all, got an overwhelming response. The act was very special to me because it ended with a standing ovation from some of the greats that I grew up learning from.

Q. Catering to a wide range of clients, how do you ensure each of the acts is unique?

I customize my script by listening to stories from my clients. I try and include them in my script. This makes the act very special. when the dummies start speaking about their stories, the audience light up and relate to the act.

Q. Can you tell us about the events you have done so far? What are your upcoming projects?

Right from birthday parties to death anniversaries; I have performed shows for all categories. Birthdays, family functions, corporate events, schools, colleges, public events, government sponsored gala functions, public awareness programs, you name it and I have performed that. Some of the social causes that spurred me on were educating kids about traffic rules, epidemic deceases, HIV, and H1N1. I have also performed for cancer patients, terminally ill people etc. We have loads of festivals in India and my performance, viewed as a standup comedy by the common man, has been well received by the audience since the past two decades. And of course, I have performed on lot of tv shows. Many projects in the pipeline, exploring new avenues in ventriloquism.

Q. Tell us about your record-breaking four-puppet act?

It is not a part of the act but the act itself. The entire act has many difficult parts. One is the script. To stitch together a dialogue (or is it a pentalogue?) that would evoke awe or laughter is more or less the easier part. Remembering to attribute each dialogue to the respective puppet is a tough ask. As one puppet speaks, the others should not be idle. Thus I have to concentrate on the movements of the other three puppets. Also, I have to show an entirely opposite emotion on my face to the dialogue uttered through puppets. I deliver an invective directed at myself through, say, doll A. The expression on my face should be outrage and not anger. Similarly, while the puppet cries (or my voice produces a sad note) I have to pose a calm. While all this is going on, I have to remember which control to operate when and how. Right control, right dialogue, right expression or body language of the doll, a counter expression on my face, quick wit to react to the judges or the audience... I end up performing approximately  32 simultaneous actions in permutations and combinations ! 

Q. If you weren’t a Ventriloquist, what would you have liked to have been?

As a kid I always wanted to become a scientist. 

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