NEW DELHI: After two years of the coronavirus pandemic, Delhiites will once again enjoy the grand Ramlila celebrations this October. With the festival season approaching, both the municipal corporation and Ramlila committees in the national capital are preparing to cater to a vast audience. Recently, the Municipal Corporation of Delhi has granted permission to 400 Ramlila committees to organise their respective functions. The corporation had received 400 applications from various committees.
The Lav Kush Ramlila Committee (Lal Quila), one of the biggest organisers in the capital, is ready to take to the dais. According to Shubh Parvesh, director, this time it is going to be bigger compared to last time. “With joy, glee and zeal, our team is ready for this year’s grand Ramlila,” Shubh Parvesh said. This year, the committee is going to introduce the new technology of 3D mapping.
This time, the set is based on Ayodhya’s great-grand Ramlila. “When the whole world was confined in their homes because of the pandemic, it was only Ayodhya’s Ramlila which was taking place,” Parvesh told The Sunday Guardian. In 2020, 16 crore people watched Ayodhya’s Ramlila and in 2021, 22 crore people watched the Ramlila via the broadcast and digital media. This year, the Lav Kush committee is planning to touch the same mark. The committee has also installed the biggest stage in the capital. According to the director, the stage is around 180 feet long and 60 feet high. A large 200-250 people cast will work round the clock to make the play a successful show. “15-20 actors will play the role of the main characters and 70-80 artistes will play the supporting roles,” said Shubh Parvesh. From 26 September to 6 October, people across India will sit in front of Ramlila stages for 10 consecutive nights to watch the great Hindu epic being enacted. This year the Lav Kush committee has called Telugu superstar Prabhas to burn Ravana’s effigy on Vijayadashami. The committee has roped in three Union Ministers to be part of the grand show.
Union Minister Ashwini Kumar Choubey, who holds several portfolios, will play the role of Rishi Vashishth, while Minister of State for Steel Faggan Singh Kulaste will essay the role of Rishi Agastya. Union Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs and Culture Arjun Ram Meghwal will be singing bhajans, he added. Northeast Delhi BJP MP Manoj Tiwari will play the role of Kewat. The organizers started the preparations in January and the committee has invited Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Droupadi Murmu for Dussehra and their confirmation is awaited.
In another part of the city, the Shri Ram Dharmik Leela committee, Keshav Puram, is also preparing for the last many months. Keeping the two years’ break on mind, the organizers this year have increased the seating capacity for the Tri Nagar stage. While talking to The Sunday Guardian, Anil Goel, general secretary of the committee, said: “Last time, we arranged 6,000 chairs for the audience, but this time we will set more than 7,000 chairs for the viewers.”
A team of 100 artistes and people will work to run the show. As many as 70 will be on stage and the other 30 will lead from backstage. On celebrity culture, Anil Goel has a different view, “People should look at the character, not the actor. This brings an end to religious decorum in Ramlila,” Goel said. The committee will entertain the audience with the melodious voices of Kailash Kher and Udit Narayan.
In Pitampura, the Arya Heritage Foundation has introduced a different concept. Members of the foundation organize the whole “Ram Katha” for 3.5 hours daily on these 10 days. Actors from NSD handle the stage for the daily play. “We have been organizing this since 2015. Keeping the working youth on mind and the old people who are not able to sit for 10 consecutive nights, we organize ‘Ram Katha’, where the whole Ramayana is performed in 3.5 hours daily,” an organizer said. After over two years of the pandemic, this year people are excited to celebrate the festival season normally.