Where a 17-year-old Muslim boy is Sita! Ramlila in Chandigarh’s Manimajra
After Friday’s Namaaz, Miraz Malik, 17, is getting ready for his favourite scene during the Dussehra-Diwali months for the past two years now — his kidnap. The strapping lad has been playing the role of Sita at the Ramlila in Chandigarh’s Manimajra for two years now. An engineering diploma student, not surprisingly, he does not know how to fix a sari.
“The store in-charge of the Ramlila helps me drape myself in a saree, with the make-up doing the rest. The ‘Sita Haran’ and ‘Ashok Vatika’ scenes are my favourites. There are good arguments with Laxman and Ravana, in these respective scenes. Today is ‘Sita Haran’,” Malik said.
There are two other Muslim artistes, too, who are performing with him at Azad Dramatics Club’s Ram Lila. One of them, Malik himself, broke into a major role only recently.
Malik, who joined the club in 2013, had previously been given the roles of Sumitra and Nal. “Director Chitranjan Chanchal saw my acting and selected me for the role of Sita,” he says.
“There are no religious boundaries in Manimajra. We celebrate all festivals together. Miraz performed well, so we selected him for Sita’s role. We do not allow woman to perform on stage,” said Chanchal, who has been associated with this Ramlila for 42 years.
“Ramlila is performed for 11 days. For all these days we have to sleep on floor and can’t eat non-vegetarian food. We can’t have onion or garlic in food. To ensure this, we rely only on home-made food, but are allowed to visit our places of worship,” Malik adds.
“We have been given a Ramayana and script to prepare for the role,” he said.
Malik’s father is an Ayurvedic doctor, while the mother a homemaker.
“My parents have supported me. No one stopped me from doing the role and my relatives praise me. We have been brought up in a secular culture. I have visited Vaishno Devi and have taken the Amarnath Yatra as well. We also celebrate Diwali,” he said.
On Shiv Sena not allowing actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui to perform in Ramlila at Muzaffarnagar on Thursday, he said, “I don’t care. When my parents are supporting me, I don’t have to worry about anything. Some people have created artificial boundaries…. You have to pay for your sins, that is what Ramayana teaches.”
“I will like to do Ram’s role one day. The director has promised me that,” he adds , with a twinkle in his eye.