In keeping with the times Ramlila, the popular dance-drama based on the life and times of mythological hero Lord Ram, has undergone a makeover.
A Ramlila in Sector 17, Chandigarh has not only gone hi-tech on the stage but also has hired a publicity firm to make it better known. The Ramlila is performed on three adjoining stages. It enables the organisers to show a scene on one stage and move to the next stage without any halt for a set change, with audiovisual modes and special effects pepping up the show.
This year, the Ramlila even had pre-recorded dialogues and songs, complete with background score and effects. The four-way sound system - with speakers costing Rs. 350, 000 each - enabled the audience to catch every dialogue.
"The message of Ramlila is very important and it should be experienced, especially by children. To woo the audiences, we have made some dramatic improvements through the judicious use of technology while maintaining the originality and sacredness of the epic," said Suresh Bakshi, the director.
The special efforts are showing results.
"The parking lots outside the Ramlila are packed with Mercedes, Hondas, Corollas and Optras. We have been able to achieve our goal," said Bakshi with satisfaction.
Bakshi and his actors chip in for social causes too.
The entire troupe visited a children's home, Kiran Sandhya, this week to stage some scenes for the children living there. Actors playing Ram, Lakshman, Ravana and others enthralled kids with their performance.
At a blood donation camp last week, the actors turned out in their stage clothes - sporting big moustaches, crowns and traditional weapons.
"While the Ramlila sends out a very powerful message of the triumph of good over evil, we felt it was also a good opportunity to spread other messages like voluntary blood donation. Our artistes are in any case regular blood donors," Bakshi said.