The annual cultural celebration, marking its 67th edition, began with artists from the Shriram Bharatiya Kala Kendra presenting a magnificent cultural extravaganza as Navratri festivities commenced on Sunday. The ten-day portrayal of the Ramayana, leading up to the Dussehra festival, once again graced the national capital with Ramlila performances.

At the Shriram Bharatiya Kala Kendra (SBKK), the celebration featured a beautifully adorned stage illuminated with colorful lights, creating a captivating mise en scène.

As the clock struck 7pm, the curtains rose accompanied by the sound of a conch shell, illuminating the stage as Luv and Kush, the children of Lord Ram and Sita, along with a group of dancers, took the stage. The audience responded with thunderous applause as Lord Ram came to life.

The artists at SBKK commenced the annual cultural spectacle, the 67th edition, through a blend of dance, drama, and music.

Hardeep Singh Puri, Union minister and the chief guest for the inaugural show, hailed SBKK’s productions as iconic, capturing significant moments in history.

The performance unfolded the epic Ramayana through 28 scenes, fusing various forms of Indian classical music, folk dances, and martial and acrobatic arts. Over the course of 2 hours and 40 minutes, key moments from the Ramayana, including Lord Ram’s birth, his marriage to Sita, their exile, the slaying of Ravana, and Sita’s agni pareeksha, were vividly brought to life through a variety of performances.

Shobha Deepak Singh, the director and vice chairperson of SBKK, shared that the show evolves every year, incorporating new elements such as changes in costumes, jewelry, music, and new script scenes that highlight female characters.

The show’s focus this year has also been on female characters, emphasizing the depth of Sita and Ahalya. Singh revealed that they plan to expand on this in the coming year.

The production carries forward a legacy, aiming to introduce India’s unique heritage to the younger generation. It represents a year and a half of preparation before the inauguration.

Raj Kumar Sharma, who has portrayed the role of Ram for the last 27 years and also serves as the production’s choreographer, mentioned the remarkable connection the audience has with him as Ram.

Rutuparna Das, who plays Sita, emphasized the importance of her character, which had a much stronger voice this year. She expressed her sense of responsibility and the divine connection people have with Sita.

Sanya Arora, portraying Ahalya for the first time, discussed her initial nervousness but praised the support from her colleagues and the satisfaction of delivering as a team.

Mugdha Kumar, who attended the show with her family, explained the importance of introducing her daughter to the cultural event from a young age. Many foreigners in the audience enjoyed the performances, with one tourist from the US highlighting the impressive music.

This Ramlila tradition at SBKK continues to be a cultural and artistic cornerstone that showcases the essence of the Ramayana in a condensed, captivating format, appealing to a diverse audience.

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