With the mythological epic ‘Ramayan’ making a comeback on Doordarshan after decades, the 90s kids are also reminiscing the famous animated movie titled ‘Ramayana: The Legend of Prince Rama’
The anime that is responsible for kids to understand Lord Rama’s story was however not made in India but Japan. In 1992, this film was made as a part of the 40th anniversary of India-Japan diplomatic relations and was worked on by teams from both countries. Directed and produced by Yugo Sako, the original version with Sanskrit songs was released in English on home video.
The Hindi dubbed version came with an interesting line-up of cast members. Narrated by Shatrughan Sinha, Arun Govil reprised the role of Rama, while the popular villain of his time Amrish Puri voiced the role of Ravana, even in the English version.
The songs in the film have also been sung by famous Indian crooners such as Udit Narayan, Sadhana Sargam and Kavita Krishnamurthy.
However, just like every religious adaptation now, this one also ran into a major controversy back in the day. After a report by The Indian Express misinterpreted Yugo Sako's "The Ramayana Relics" documentary and published that he was making a new Ramayana, there were protest letter was sent by the Vishva Hindu Parishad to the Japanese Embassy in Delhi.
While the government agreed initially for its release, it declined the idea of bi-nation collaboration, stating that it is a sensitive subject and cannot be essayed as a cartoon. Also for the fact that it was made during the peak Ayodhya dispute, it would only fuel the issue with a film.
However, the film ended up being made in Japan with artists collaborating from both countries. It went on to be a much loved film by the kids and is remembered even today as the best animated version of an epic tale.