The universal theme of victory of good over evil has made the epic Ramayana popular across the globe. It was evident at Ayodhya when 120 artists from eight countries performed the epic in a dance ballet form at the ongoing sixth edition of Deepotsav celebrations in Ayodhya yesterday.
Leading the performance of Ramayana by foreign artists is the Moscow-based Disha: India-Russia Friendship Society and the Padma Shri Gennady Mikhailovich Pechnikov Memorial Ramlila. The performance by the 12-member Russian troupe captivated the audience.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be the Chief Guest at the Ram Leela celebrations at Ayodhya today and the Russian group’s performance is a part of it. The PM will be performing pooja and other rituals of Ram Lalla Virajman deity and also visiting Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra site where the Ram Janmabhoomi temple is being built.
This Russian Ram Leela team which has been performing for several years is one of its kind in Europe. The group performed for the first time in Ayodhya from November 4 to 6 in 2018 during Deepotsav celebrations. They also performed in Prayagraj during the Kumbh in 2019.
The producer and director of the show who is also the Convenor of Disha informed that the Yogi Adityanath Government had provided them a platform in India to present Russian Ramlila. Talking to The Hindu he said: “This year the visit is more special as we are returning to Ayodhya after the pandemic and as we want to highlight close friendship between two sides in the midst of the special military operation that Russia is carrying out in Ukraine.”
Sharing details about the production, its co-director Aleksandra Koneva said the performance will include the war between Lord Ram and Ravan; reunion of Lord Ram and Sita; his return to Ayodhya; Sita’s swayamvar; Kaikeyi asking for her three wishes; exile of Lord Ram, Sita and Lakshman; Ravana abducting Sita; and Lord Hanuman in Lanka apart from other episodes.
The lead roles of Lord Ram and Sita are being essayed by Ildar Khusnullin and Milana Bychonek respectively. Other artistes include Nadezda Singh as Kaushalya; Rati Kosinova as Sumitra; Gulnara Isakova as Kaikeyi; Alexei Fleyjanikav as Lakshman; and Vaychislav Chernyash as Ravan.
Lord Hanuman will be enacted by Kushnerova while Sugreev by Artem Zubkov and King Dashrath by Danish Shevtsov.
Apart from Russia, artists from Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Trinidad and Tobago, Nepal and Fiji are performing Ram Leela at Ayodhya.
Started in 2017, Deepotsav encourages foreign performers to stage Ramayana.