Kung Fu coach, dancers, pilots transformed into wish-granting Gods and Goddesses.
It was a dramatic enactment of Ramayana. Hanuman flying through the air and Sita descending on a peacock. The Ramlila at Prachar Samiti based in Malad is one of the more popular ones in Mumbai, and with good reason. Rama, Ravana, Sita and the rest of the cast were busy getting ready for their stage performance. Being almost the only woman on set, and that too without make-up, I know I looked sorely out of place.
Started in 1982, this was their 37th year of celebration. I could sense the immense popularity of the festival by the crowds that had gathered. While most Ramlila groups in the city feature an all-male cast, this one had a smattering of women. Most artists were from smaller towns like Moradabad and Uttar Pradesh, and this was their yearly 10 day jaunt into the city for the occasion. I couldn't wait to watch as I documented their fascinating transformation from Kung Fu coach, dancer, loco pilot to larger than life mythological Gods and Goddesses.
Lord Rama gets his makeover
Paints, easels, wigs..it’s a live masterclass
King Yashovardhan Chakrapani in the making
Ojas Tevetia, 19 years old professional dancer plays King Kambhojnaresh
Vipin Bhatnagar, 47 years old Kungfu Coach based in Moradabad
Aman Sharma, 22 year old professional dancer and choreographer plays Hanuman
Ojas Tevetia, 19 year old dancer and a choreographer is playing King Kambhojnaresh
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By Rashi Arora
Photographs by Rashi Arora