Made of fibre reinforced plastic, the expensive dolls are finding takers
Did you know that you can now pick up Navarathri kolu dolls made of fibre reinforced plastic (FRP) material?
The large dolls that stand right at the top of the steps, the three-foot tall ones, including those of Adi Sankarar, Sharadambal and Kanchi Mahaperiyava, come in long-lasting FRP with a smooth paint and do not losetheir sheen easily.
City-based artisan N. Jagadeeswaran, who makes these dolls along with a friend, said that it takes a month to make a single doll. “We can use a mould for making only one doll. The paint we use is costly and the dolls can be washed. They are stronger than the conventional clay dolls,” he said.
The cost of the dolls, however, is quite prohibitive. The ones that are three-ft tall are priced as high as ₹75,000-₹80,000 and can be bought at Poompuhar and Khadi Gramodhyog Bhavan on Anna Salai. “There are clients for such dolls too. Last year, we made just three big ones and all of them were sold. This year too we made three big ones and a few smaller sized dolls including Agasthiyar, Pandurangan, Ayyappan and Karumariamman,” said Mr. Jagadeeswaran.
Terracotta artisan from Puducherry V. K. Munusamy, at Kumaran Anugraha in West Mambalam, said that use of FRP in making dolls for kolu was a recent trend. “Large showpieces used to be made using FRP. The oldest one that I know of is the large dinosaur at the Chennai museum, which was made by my uncle.
“The shiny Ganesha and Krishna dolls that we get from Thailand, Vietnam and China are made of FRP. Nowadays artisans here also use FRP due to constant demand from customers for new dolls and materials,” he said.
Athi Varadar doll
The Athi Varadar doll is the most sought after one this season. You can buy them for as low as ₹450 for a small one at the Mother Teresa Women Development Complex in Nungambakkam where you can also pick up dolls from Cuddalore and Madurai.
V. Selvaraj, secretary at the Khadi outlet, said new arrivals included Madurai Veeran, Krishnan Thulabaram, Bhairavar and a set from the film Maya Bazaar where a huge Ghatotkacha (the son of the Pandava Bhima) is surrounded by delicacies.
The Poompuhar showroom has an interesting miniature five-step kolu with dolls in that size.