Epic in verse, 'Kumaon Ramlila' at Ram Katha celebrations

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New Delhi, Mar 13 (UNI) The Kumaoni Ram Lila, an operatic rendition of the Ramayana epic was performed here last evening.

The main feature that sets Kumaoni Ram Lila apart is that the performers sing rather than recite their lines. Along with the Kumaoni dialect, the 'chaupais' and 'dohas' are rendered in various other forms of Hindi including 'Braj' and 'Khari Boli'.

Artistes from Kumaon's "Parvatiya Kala Manch" had presented the 'Kumaon Ram Lila' as a part of the nine-day celebrations of "Ramkatha: Ankan, Manchan aur Vaachan" at the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA).

The verses are set to music using Hindustani classical ragas ranging from Jugiya, Khamaj, Bihagara, Piloo and Bhairan.

The IGNCA is also holding seminar, exhibition and a series of performances on 'Ram katha' from different parts of the country including the North East.

It is said the Kumaoni Ram Lila is probably the longest opera performance in the world. This tradition has been developed and nurtured over the past several hundred years and sustained by the community as a regular annual festive activity at the grass root level.

The artistes depicted the various episodes like the "Vanvaas", Surpanakha incident and the abduction of Sita, the one incident that changes the course of the story.

Beside Kumaoni Ram Lila, Sumang Lila (Manipur), Sundar Katha (Mathura) and Ramman (Garhwal) will also be held as part of the festival in the coming days.

Earlier in the day, an exhibition opened at the centre displaying, among others, a collection of masks, puppets, 'Patua' scrolls, headgear and costumes, used and made by artistes from different parts of the country.

Another major attraction of the exhibition, inaugurated by Kalyan Kumar Chakravarty, member-secretary, IGNCA, was the paintings based on the incidents in the Ramayana. Using the basic materials available in nature, the artists have created masterpieces that are attractive in their rudimentary simplicity. These include Gond paintings from Madhya Pradesh, Madhubani from Bihar and Kalamkari from Andhra Pradesh.

The exhibition also features weapons, backdrops, musical instruments and audio-visual displays.

The IGNCA, under the project on Ram Katha in oral narratives and folk performance traditions had, in the run-up to the festival, organised several artist-workshop to audio-visually document the divergent features seen in folk and tribal traditions in the country.

UNI KK NK DS1512

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