After a gap of two years, the Government of Uttar Pradesh has invited a Russian troupe from Moscow to perform in this year’s Ramleela celebrations in Ayodhya. The performance of Ramleela by the Russian actors will take place during October 22-28, when the Deepotsav festival will be celebrated in Ayodhya. The visit of the Ramleela troupe is special as it will take place after the pandemic as well as in the backdrop of the Ukraine crisis, which is redefining the India-Russia relationship both at the levels of the governments and people-to-people ties.
Lavkush Dwivedi, Director, Ayodhya Research Institute, which comes under the U.P. Government’s Department of Culture, has written to ‘Disha: India-Russia Friendship Society of Moscow’, inviting the actors to perform in Ayodhya.
The Ramleela of Moscow goes back to the 1960s, when Gennady Mikhailovich Pechnikov performed the role of Lord Ram. “Our all-Russian team of performers began Ramleela presentation in 2018 in memory of ‘Russian Ram’, Pechnikov, who was a guru for many of us who were interested in Indian culture and history,” Rameshwar Singh, Disha’s director, said.
Pechnikov was a legendary performer, and for many years, he was the only European stage personality capable of playing Lord Ram on stage. “That is why we dedicate our Ramleela to the memory of ‘Russian Ram’, Gennady Pechnikov,” said Dr. Singh, who along with his wife Nadezda will bring the Ramleela to Ayodhya. The Russian Ramleela was adapted to the European artistic traditions and is presented in a unique classical style. The cast features at least 15 actors, including one who plays the role of Lord Hanuman.
Disha’s Ramleela in memory of Pechnikov was presented for the first time at Ayodhya’s 2018 Deepotsav, which was followed by a performance at the 2019 Prayagraj Mahakumbh Mela.
This year’s Deepotsav is expected to be decorated with one million earthen lamps, shobha yatras, and Ramleela performances by troupes from India and abroad.