Staff Reporter

NEW DELHI: Shriram Bharatiya Kala Kendra is presenting the 52nd edition of its annual Ramlila at its Copernicus Marg premises here in the Capital. The show is on every day up to October 15.

Addressing a press conference over the weekend, Shriram Bharatiya Kala Kendra director Shobha Deepak Singh said: “We have come out with a new set and 45 artistes and dancers will perform every day. This year’s production carves out a new role for Sita within the parameters of the epic. She is more assertive as opposed to being totally submissive. If Ram was Maryada Purshottam, Sita was the epitome of an exemplary dutiful wife. She walked on the same thorns as Ram in the forest. She suffered abduction and a frighteningly lonely existence in captivity. Her agni pariksha will be highlighted in detail.”

Stating that the Kendra wants to link the message of the Ramayana to everyday life of the common man, Ms. Singh said the plots of the epic are ripe with the emotions of life: “The central theme of the Ramayana is the wheel of karma or the consequence of past deeds. The basic plot is a simple struggle between good and evil. There are many layers of karma involved and dilemmas to be faced as we discover that the gap between good and evil is not as clear as we might have thought. Over the years we have incorporated changes to make it appealing to the youngsters. Every year, I change the costumes.”

Ms. Singh pointed out that the Kendra’s Ramlila was the first ever event to be shot and beamed by Doordarshan when its black-and-white channel was launched. “It appeals to the classes and the masses, for it draws from idioms that are aesthetically sound and universal. Year after year, the discerning audience reaffirms the faith, values and inspiration that the Ramayana exudes in its appeal for the new generation. Senior citizens and children have a great fascination for Ram and Sita.”

Shashidharan Nair is choreographing the Ramayana for which rehearsals were done for 120 days. Costumes and ornaments have been done by Ms. Singh. Two hundred musicians were involved with the recording of the sound track.