October 28, 2021

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Lucknow: On this distinctive Ramlila, younger ladies play Ram, Lakshman | Lucknow Information

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LUCKNOW: The courtyard of Ramlila ground in Mahanagar is filled with young girls trying on their paper costumes, fixing each other’s jewellery and clicking pictures. You cannot know who is playing which character until you listen to them rehearsing their lines. As soon as their director comes in to inform them that they are ready to begin the show, all girls chant a unified ‘Jai Shri Ram’ before the final act.
The 15-20 female artists—aged 12 to 40 years—are part of the unique Mahanagar Ramlilawhich takes pride in being the only Ramleela in the city where all major characters are female. From Ram, Lakshman, Sita, to Bharat and Shatrughan, all prominent roles are played by young girls in the four-day show which begins from Tuesday.
Anushikha Joshi, who has been playing Ram for two years, said that her association with the character has led to changes in her personality.
“Though I have been a part of Ramlila for the past two years, I have been performing since the age of 6. Each character you play leaves something with you. Lord Ram’s character has made me more patient and more calm,” says Anushikha, adding that she has grown up watching her father playing the role of Dashrath, and feels lucky to have been chosen for the role of Ram.
“My father says that a good performer is one who listens to everyone patiently while rehearsing and improves with the advice of seniors. I try to follow this,” she added.
Like the love between brothers Ram and Lakshman, Anushikha (20) and Srishti (19), who play them, also share a cordial relationship.
“We are like one big family. I always had a secret desire to act. I feel blessed to do it by playing these mythological figures,” added Srishti.
Another unique factor of this Ramlila is the Lohumi family, where all the members, including two children, play different characters.
Yashi (16) plays Sita and Falguni (12) plays Shatrughan, while their parents play the role of Janak and Janak Patni.
The sisters say their interest in Indian culture and classical singing prompted them to take part in the Ramlila.
“We started with playing minor characters when we joined five years ago. Now, the roles have changed and I’m playing Sita, while my sister is playing Shatrughan and Gauri Ma,” added Yashi.
Committee president Lalit Mohan Joshi said, “Ever since the committee was formed in 1968, we have included both genders. However, only a few women took part because of which men played female characters too. Gradually, women and young girls started joining in and now, we have more female artists than male. All our major characters, except Ravan, are played by females.”



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