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‘Digital Ramlila’ continues to be crowd puller in Ghaziabad

Smoke machines and disco lights have been around for many years, but what sets the performance apart at this humble ground is its team of theatre artistes, working professionals and students who pour their heart, soul and tech savviness into creating stage backdrops that are alive; from dancing flames to splitting stages, they have it all.

noida Updated: Sep 28, 2017 22:05 IST
Peeyush Khandelwal
Peeyush Khandelwal
Hindustan Times
Ghaziabad,Ramlila,digital
It’s been four years and the ground at Kavi Nagar continues to fill to capacity as people from all walks of life and age gather to experience Ramlila with a digital twist. (Sakib Ali/HT Photo)

It’s been four years and the ground at Kavi Nagar continues to fill to capacity as people from all walks of life and age gather to experience Ramlila with a digital twist.

Smoke machines and disco lights have been around for many years, but what sets the performance apart at this humble ground is its team of theatre artistes, working professionals and students who pour their heart, soul and tech savviness into creating stage backdrops that are alive; from dancing flames to splitting stages, they have it all.

The performers include management professionals, students and other enthusiasts. (Sakib Ali/HT Photo)

The Sanskriti Group brainstorms new techniques and visuals as early as three months before the start of the Ramlila season. This year, the group have on offer nearly 400 video and sound effects which bring the stage to life.

Sample this, this time the ‘Sita Haran’ episode has a 3D-eque effect. When Ravana takes Sita away to Lanka, the background effects begins from top view and slowly move to the ground level, making the entire scene look like a plane—‘Pushpak viman’ in Ravana’s case—has landed.

“The video and the sound effects really bring the lila to limelight. Vibrant colors and careful character selection brings out the best in our artistes. A lot of time goes into creating effects; for some scenes we even have to purchase equipment or order as per requirement,” said Deepak Saini, an artiste from ‘Sanskriti’ who plays Hanuman. He is studying fine arts.

A scene from the play. (Sakib Ali/HT Photo)

The other newly added effect is the Palace of Ravana. Here, the demon king is seated in the middle while two demons stand side by side, holding fire in their hands. “The fire rages and mellows in intensity according to Ravana’s moods,” Saini said, adding the effects run in the background as characters erform in foreground.

Aside from background effects, the group has also introduced the episode of rebirth of Hanuman. Unlike the regular narrative by Shiva to Parvati, this year’s Ramlila is the a story as told by Krishna to Rukmini.

“A new story about generation of all four Vedas has also been added,” Saini said.

Theatre group’s director Raj Gupta said people have been loving all the add-ons. “Spectators keeping coming to meet us after shows and tell us it how real it looked. We put in HD quality audio and video; the newness of effects, change of characters, costumes and even digital screen in the background have worked very well for us,” he said, adding that this year they even bought an LED screen which could open up to allow entry and exit of the characters.

While Gupta is an MBA, his other colleagues are at AIIMS, Delhi Metro, employed gainfully with the software industry or are pursuing higher education from different colleges of Delhi.

“The idea is to show the Ramayana in a better manner to the audience so that it attracts every age group. Every artiste from our group practices for hours to bring in emotions, devotion and related characters to light,” Gupta said, adding, practice starts every day around 1am after the show ends.

First Published: Sep 28, 2017 22:05 IST