Raavan has a new successor, and it’s his 28-year-old son. Delhi-based businessman Abhinav Chauhan has taken on the role of Raavan in the Ashok Vihar Ramlila. His father, Tejveer Singh, played the part for 28 years, so much so that kids in his colony even called him Raavan uncle.
“My father passed away in 2008, and someone else played his role for two years. But, the director did not like their acting, so he made me prepare for it,” says Chauhan.
Chauhan says Raavan has literally been a part of his family since he was born. “The year I was born, my father started playing the role of Raavan. He researched a lot about the character and would tell us a lot of stories. In fact, that year, I played the role of baby Ram in the Ramlila that year,” he recalls. Incidentally, Chauhan had a baby boy this year who will be playing the role of an infant Ram in the same Ramlila. Chauhan’s younger brother Anup will be playing Meghnath, Raavan’s son.
“I decided to take on the role because that’s what my father would have wanted. He was very impressed by the character; there are lots of things about him that people don’t know and I can say that I like him more than Ram because of such great things my dad has told us about him,” he says.
Chauhan says his ultimate ambition is to participate in the annual Ramlila competition that takes place in Ayodhya every year. “Ramlila actors from across the country participate in this. My father won the award of Best Raavan twice, and I intend to take part in it once I have perfected my role.”
Ramlila through the years
The first Ramlila to be staged outside the Red Fort was organised under the rule of emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar in the mid-19th Century.
Started in 1923, the Shri Dharmik Ramlila Committee is one of the oldest Ramlilas
In 2004, Ramlila celebrations by Luv-Kush Ramlila Committee were the first ever to be telecast in over 100 countries.