‘Lankesh’ is a popular figure in the Old City -- not only during Ramlila and Dussehra, but all through the year.
Vishnu Tripathi, who has been playing Ravan in the Chowk Ramlila for nearly 35 years now, has become synonymous with his character and is widely known as ‘Lankesh’.
The title gave him so much popularity that Tripathi won the local bodies’ elections in 2006 and served as the corporator of the area.
Appreciated for his Ravanlike laughter and attitude on stage, ‘Lankesh’ says, “I won the title of Lankesh at a ‘Sita Haran’ contest at the Laxman Mela ground in 2006, in which Ravans of the various Ramlila committees participated. The then Governor Vishnu Kant Shatri gave me the award along with the title, which is a part of my name now.”
“Ravan’s character has not only given me a name, but has also brought changes in my personality,” believes Vishnu.
He adds, “Ravan is believed to be a villainous character, but he was a wise man. Hence, I read Ravan Puran and practice his teachings.”
Vishnu has also studied the ayurveda that was practiced and promoted by Ravan. He says, “I worship Surya and study all literature associated with Ravan. Ramayan has become a part of my life now.”
Acting came naturally to Vishnu and he began playing roles of mythological figures since childhood.
He was just 13 when he first donned the mantle of Ravan in a Ramlila and due to his perfection and dedication, has been christened as ‘Lankesh’ by the Shri Public Bal Ramlila Samiti that has been organising the Ramlila in Old City since 1936.