Arching his back and adjusting the bow, sound engineer Govind Chaturvedi, who played Lord Ram, shot an arrow at the 45-foot effigy of the demon king Raavan at the Shivaji Park ground on Thursday.
Within minutes, the effigy went up in flames and more than 5,000 people gathered at the ground cheered on to celebrate Raavan Dahan (Death of the demon Raavan) on the occasion of Dussehra on Thursday.
The Ramlila was organised by the Adarsh Ramlila Samiti during Navratri. “Last year we could not organise the Ramlila because of the high court order. Despite the break, we had more than 5,000 people who witnessed the end of the ten-headed demon,” said Shashank Singh, committee member, Adarsh Ramlila Samiti, Shivaji Park.
“The decibel levels of the megaphones were toned down, but the enthusiasm made up for it.”
At the Raavan Dahan organised by the Sahitya Kala Manch on Azad Maidan, children sat on their fathers’ shoulders and students focused their cameras, to capture the visual of the 60-foot effigy of the demon being burnt down. With more than 20,000 people trying to get into the ground, organisers had to seek the help of police and private guards to control the crowd.
“The effigy is one of the tallest in the city. We expected a huge turnout in the evening and were prepared in advance to deal with the situation,” said Udesh Aggarwal, president, Sahitya Kala Manch that has organised the Ramlila for more than three decades in the city. “After the war sequence between the ‘vanar sena’ and the Lankan demons fought on stage, Lord Rama walked down on the ground into the crowd and fired an arrow from there,” added Aggarwal.
For a few gathered at the ground to witness the victory of good over evil, the excitement stemmed from the popularisation of the scene on celluloid. “I wanted my son to be introduced to the mythological character, Raavan. The only Raavans he has been familiar with are Abhishek Bachchan (Ravan) and Shahrukh Khan (Ra.One),” said Sharmila Mohite, 43, resident of Shivaji Park.