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Going beyond the evil Ravan

Piyush Roy speaks to the writer of Zee's new serial Ravan, an epic dedicated to the biggest villain of Indian mythology.

india Updated: Nov 22, 2006 14:02 IST

We have seen an assortment of gods and goddesses (read Jai Veer Hanuman, Jai Durga, Shri Ganesha,Om Namah Shivay amongst others) hit the Indian TV scene post-Ramayan and Mahabharat.

But now, for the first time an epic is being shown from the perspective of Indian mythology’s biggest villain — Ravan (played by Narendra Jha).

Explains writer Chandan Singh, “Ravan was the first socialist, who challenged the samrajyawad  (imperialism) of King Indra and defeated him, thus setting the foundations of a classless society. He was a great scientist, scholar, composer, founder of nadi vigyan, user and developer of vayuyans — how can such a multidimensional character be dumped in history as a mere kidnapper?” 

Chandan has over five years of research to back his statements. He has sieved every possible bit of news on the asura king gathered from Valmiki’s Ramayan,Ramcharitmanas, Jain and Kamb Ramayan to lore from neighbouring countries like Indonesia and essays and fiction inspired from the Ramayan.                     

Narendra Jha plays Ravan in the serial

But it was not easy getting a channel to showcase the ‘different’ take on Ramayan, especially with mythology not being the current flavour of the tube. “This is not Ramayan, where events unfold in the last few years of Ravan’s life. Ram came into Ravan’s life in the penultimate years of his 350-year-old illustrious life. Our serial depicts Ravan’s story and journey from good to evil,” says the writer.

But the makers assure that the serial is not at the cost of Ram and his divinity. “The moral of the story is that Ravan became arrogant and what happened to him could also happen to you,” evinces Chandan.

“The name, Ravan, creates a sensation in itself. It will be interesting to know if moms and grand-moms tell kids to watch Ravan with the same gusto as they did during Ramayan.,” informs Zee TV’s marketing head Tarun Mehra.

Actor Narendra Jha who took up the role with much trepidation “going by the sorry state of mythologicals of late,” has however become a fan of the asura king.