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HindustanTimes Mon,21 Apr 2014

Professionals take centre stage in Ramlila

Mehakdeep Grewal , Hindustan Times  Patiala, October 06, 2013
First Published: 23:03 IST(6/10/2013) | Last Updated: 23:04 IST(6/10/2013)

Janak is a leading doctor of the city while Laxman is an engineering graduate and Dashrath is a third generation government employee.

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In the city's oldest surviving Ramlila group the key characters are played by the new age professional graduates along with third generation actors.

The new prodigy includes engineering and commerce graduates. Chhota Laxman turned Shravan Kumar, Anmol Trivedi is a third year engineering student of Thapar college and has been associated with the group since the age of 10.

While the role of Sita's father, Janak is played by Anil Gautam, who in his prime days had played the character of Ram. However with age taking over his role was switched.

Trivedi said, “It is believed in families here that all those who play the character of lord Rama, become successful professionals. Besides this is my favourite time of the year. Tomorrow when I get a job, I would still take leave to come back and play characters.”

Third generation Dashrath, is 72 years old, and is a retired Haryana electricity board employee.

Naresh Khanna, the oldest member and at present 'Dashrath' has been associated with 'Shree Ramlila Committee' since the past 52 years. His father had played the role of 'Bheem' and was also the director of the play when it was incepted in 1947.

“My father was even offered a role by Prithviraj Kapoor, after he saw him perform. However he refused for his love and passion remained in performing only Ramlila at Patiala” Khanna said.

Khanna shared, “Since childhood I have been a part of the Ramlila committee family. Even when I got my job in Chandigarh ever year I use to take 10 days off to come to Patiala to play the characters.”

His brother is the head make up director of the committee.

President of the committee Ram Tandon said, “This Ramlila has produced many bureaucrats, industrialists, doctors and professionals. The present sub divisional magistrate of Sunam Rajesh Dhiman had played the role of Sita as well as Ram.”

Tandon claimed that the leading Indian origin industrialist of Canada Suresh Kumar Gupta, has been one of the favourite Rams of the group.

“There used to be many groups in the city earlier who use to perform Ramlila, however over the years the enthusiasm has died. Our group has continued for we have had generations perform on the same stage” Tandon said.

With the induction of gizmo age youngsters taking part in the mythological saga, the stages have technically advanced, as now the 'Dharti mata' has a rotational ball, and lord Shankar enters on hydraulic rotational stage.

The royal thrones are reversible for they have the royal insignia of both the dynasties engraved on either side. 

The new and old generation combination of experience and technology would be performing for the entire week till October 13.

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