Each year, as evenings lengthen and nights fill with the sweet smell of the 'saptaparni' tree, grounds big and small across north India come alive with the sights and sounds of the Ramayana being staged for rapt audiences. This October is different.
The cheer is missing as most Ramlilas have been either cancelled, recorded for digital viewing or recast in the corona mould -- the retelling of the epic knitting the age-old story of good vanquishing evil with the dos and don'ts of a pandemic.
However, a grand scale Ramlila was organised at the banks of Saryu river in the historic city of Ayodhya, believed by devotees to be the birthplace of Ram.
The star-studded Ramlila at Lakshman Qila in Ayodhya, was telecast on Doordarshan and livestreamed on YouTube in 14 languages, including Urdu, across the country between October 17 and 25.
The cast included BJP MP from North-East Delhi Manoj Tiwari as Angad, Gorakhpur MP and Bhojpuri actor Ravi Kishan as Bharat and Vindu Dara Singh as Lord Hanuman, actor Raza Murad portrays Ahiravan and actor Shahbaz Khan as Ravan, while Asrani appears as Narad Muni and Rakesh Bedi plays Vibhishan.
Now, a still from the Ramlila has gone viral on social media, where Tiwari can be seen ditching his Hindi script and using the words “ek second” and “humare team ka bandar” as a part of his dialogue.
Watch the video below.
According to reports, Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath was one of the few members in the audience for this year's Ramlila as general spectators were not allowed to watch the show physically due to the COVID-19 restrictions.
The Ramlila was held with the cooperation of the tourism and cultural department of the Uttar Pradesh government.