Bhopal: A Hindi play ‘Chitrapat Ramayan’ was staged at Antrang Hall of Bharat Bhawan on Sunday in 600-yr-old traditional Yakshagana style for the first time in the city. Yakshagana literally means the song (gana) of the yaksha (nature spirits). It is a traditional theatre form that combines dance, music, dialogue, costume, make-up, and stage techniques with a unique style and form. This theatre style is mainly found in Tulunadu and some parts of Malenadu region’s of Karnataka and Kerala.
Scripted by Manjunath Bhagwat, directed and conceptualised by C.R Jambe, the play was presented wonderfully by 25 students of MP School of Drama. (MPSD). It was prepared during a month-long workshop under the guidance of Jambe.
Besides acting and direction, costumes especially of Ravana were one of the major attractions of the play which left the audience spellbound. The weight of jute-made costumes of Ravana was of 15 Kg including 4kg of headgear. Kumardas T N prepared the costumes which was based Yakshagana pattern using jute, cotton clothes, wooden profile sheets and thermocol. Props were prepared by the students. Classical music and golden lights also added charm in the play. Around 25 songs and Kathakkali, a dance from of Kerala have also been used in the play.
The one-hour-forty-minutes play was based on ‘Uttarkand’ of the epic Ramayana. The play highlights the good governance of Rama, deceitful revenge of Shurpnakha, docility of Sita and child image of Ravana.
The play also talks about the inner conflicts of King Rama. Being a king he gives preference to public morality than love and he sends Sita when is pregnant in forest. On other hand, the character of Sita depicts pathetic condition of women who have always been cheated.
The play begins with song ‘Prabhu Rama Shobhit Hai Kaushal Sihasan…,’ and ends with song ‘Chitrapat Ke Bahane Se Sita Ko Raghav ne Chhoda…’. Radha Krishna as Ravan, Harsh Prakash as Rama, Nayan Raghuvanshi as Sita, Chetan Tirdiya as Laxman were in lead roles. Interestingly, Arun Thakur played the role of female character ‘Shurpnakha’. Light was designed by Anup Joshi ‘Bunty’ and music by ravi Muroor. Bannaje Sanjeeva Suvarna and Kalamandlam were Yaskshagana and Kathakali Guru. The play will be restaged on Monday with different casts.
Radha Krishana, 22
I am playing the role of Ravana for the first time in Yakshagana style. The objective of my character is to break the general image of Ravan. Normally we portray Ravana as demon, but in this play Ravan will be seen in the form of child. It is very tough to perform after wearing 16 kg costume especially headgear of 4 kg. I have been practicing this for five days. All the actors including me work hard on eye movements. For this we all have to do eye exercise for over an hour daily.