#Dussehra2019: Meet the ‘Dream girl’ only this one is for real
We’ve all loved and lauded Ayushmann Khurrana’s ‘dream girl’ act in the film Dream Girl. Khurrana plays a man who works at a call centre where he speaks to callers in a woman’s voice. He is also a popular Ramlila actor in his locality, playing Sita, and people come to seek his blessings, too. And the reel isn’t far from reality. Govind Maurya enjoys the same respect for playing Sita in Ramlilas in Delhi-NCR.
A 36-year-old actor from Gurugram, Govind has been playing Sita for 17 years now in the city’s annual show. He has won much praise for his performance and even when the makeup comes off, he is approached by people for his blessings. “Kabhi-kabhi log keh dete hain, ‘Woh dekho Sita’ jab woh bina makeup ke bhi dekhte hain, market mein ya kahin aur,” he says.
It all began when Govind was watching Ramlila rehearsals as a child, and there has been no looking back. “Dekhne gaye the, unko awaaz achi lagi unhone ne le liya (I was watching Ramlila, the makers liked my voice and decided to take me on board),” he says, adding, “I was first given the role of Sita’s mother. After 15 days, I got Sita’s role.”
Hear Govind recite Sita’s lines — ‘Hey sakhi khadi toh raho zara, mera toh ji ghabrata hai’ — and one can easily mistake the voice to be of a woman. “Yeh dialogue tab ka hai jab Shri Ram milne aate hain, pushp vatika mein,” he says. What does his family feel? “My family doesn’t like me playing Sita, but I have to play it to run my house,” he says. But the former employee of a leather factory, who is looking for a full-time job since the company shut down, doesn’t get paid for the role. Instead, the remuneration is in kind, in the form of gifts such as woofers, juicer-mixer-grinders and the like from the Ramlila committee or distinguished guests.
Besides, it is his passion. “The role of Sita requires great work and dedication. Hero, heroine toh Ram, Lakshman aur Sita hee hain. An 11-year-old came to play Sita, but wasn’t able to do justice,” says Govind.
Is he ever made fun of, for playing a woman? “When I sit with all makeup, nobody has ever made fun of me. Makeup utaarne ke baad bhi Sita bol dete hai. People touch my feet when I am in costume. Many girls have started performing in Ramlilas now, but the tradition of men playing female characters still continues,” he asserts.
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