Tech to bring tra­di­tional tale to life over 9 days

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - Times City - TIMES NEWS NET­WORK

New Delhi: From a three-hour show in Janakpuri re­plete with light and sound in the man­ner of a Broad­way pro­duc­tion to tra­di­tional per­for­mances by troupes from Mo­rad­abad in the shadow of Red Fort, Delhi’s Ramlila or­gan­is­ers are ready for the nine­day an­nual re-en­act­ment of the Ram saga. At­trac­tions also in­clude Bol­ly­wood ac­tors, tele­vi­sion stars and a host of po­lit­i­cal lead­ers in the­atri­cal make-up.

Three of the city’s big­gest Ramlilas are or­gan­ised on the Red Fort grounds. Sri Dharmic Ramlila Com­mit­tee has been around for 96 years. “We are the old­est Ramlila in the city and we bring troupes from Mo­rad­abad and Bareli for our shows. These pro­fes­sional ac­tors live a com­plete satvik life dur­ing the Ramlila man­chan,” said Pradeep Sha­ran, an or­gan­iser.

Sha­ran’s col­league Ravi Jain dis­closed that a unique food court — the Janak Bazaar — is be­ing set up where all the del­i­ca­cies and chaats of old Delhi will be avail­able. Top gov­ern­ment dig­ni­taries, in­clud­ing Pres­i­dent Ram­nath Kovind, Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi and heads of po­lit­i­cal par­ties visit this Ramlila on Vi­jay Dashmi.

Across the road, the Nav Sri Dharmic Leela Com­mit­tee pro­poses this year to use tech to woo younger au­di­ences. “In our 62nd Ramlila this year, our goal is to at­tract young­sters. We will em­ploy a hy­draulic stage, LED screens and sound tech­nique to make the show more im­mer­sive for them,” said com­mit­tee mem­ber Rahul Sharma. “We will also en­cour­age peo­ple to check in on plat­forms like In­sta­gram, Twit­ter and Face­book and get re­wards.”

At the third big do at Red Fort, the Luv Kush Ramlila Com­mit­tee, ac­cord­ing to or­gan­is­ing panel mem­ber Ashok Agar­wal, will have a large num­ber of TV ac­tors strid­ing the stage. “It will be a star-stud­ded af­fair,” he promised. He added that the Ramlila will also have politi­cians act­ing as var­i­ous char­ac­ters.

In east Delhi, Dalip Bin­dal of the In­draprastha Ramlila Com­mit­tee re­vealed that the fo­cus of the Ra­mayan en­act­ment this year will be aware­ness about re­li­gious texts and im­prove­ment in fam­ily re­la­tion­ships. “While we will get 12,000 chil­dren to par­tic­i­pate in our quiz con­tests, we will also high­light how tech­nol­ogy is dis­rupt­ing the in­ter-fam­ily re­la­tion­ships,” he said.

As usual, the In­draprastha Ramlila Com­mit­tee will have a poll to de­ter­mine the “Aaj Ka Ra­vana”, a fourth ef­figy to be burnt be­sides Ra­vana, Megh­nad and Kumbhkaran. “The top con­tender for the fourth ef­figy this year is plas­tic pol­lu­tion. Run­ning close be­hind is the im­pact that What­sApp and Face­book have on in­ter-per­sonal re­la­tion­ships,” Bin­dal said.

In Janakpuri, the Ramlila will take the form of a Broad­way stag­ing. For­mer south Delhi mayor Naren­der Chawal, mem­ber of the or­gan­is­ing com­mit­tee, said. “The spe­cial three-hour man­chan will make full use of tech­nol­ogy and light and sound ef­fects.”

Many Ramlila com­mit­tees in the North­west will rely on grand stages to catch the at­ten­tion of the devo­tees. J K Bansal, pres­i­dent of Nav Sri Ke­shav Ramlila Com­mit­tee in Ro­hini’s Ja­pani Park, told of how the or­gan­is­ers had de­vel­oped a spe­cial 142-feet stage. “We have taken in­spi­ra­tion from the Sun Tem­ple in Konark and repli­cated it for our stage,” he said.

The stage put up by the Sri Sanatan Dharam Leela Com­mit­tee too builds on the tem­ple tra­di­tion. Praveen Kapoor, sec­re­tary of the com­mit­tee, re­vealed that it re­sem­bles the Prem Mandir of Vrin­da­van in Mathura. He added, “An­other unique fea­ture in our Ramlila is an aerial flight by Hanu­man at a height of 100 ft. A set of cranes and trol­leys will be used to make this feat pos­si­ble.”

Pho­tos: Anindya Chat­topad­hyay

LET THE SHOW BE­GIN: ‘Ma­haraj Dasharatha’ lands by crane at Red Fort Lawns; a par­tic­i­pant gets ready for ac­tion

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