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Epic Theatrics
Photo by Priyanka Sachar

What goes on behind the scenes at the big Ramlila performances? A somewhat fortuitous walk enabled me to find just that out, as I stumbled upon an opening near the stage where the crew was getting ready for the upcoming performance. After taking permission to click photographs from someone who seemed to be the Ramlila committee chairman, I jumped beyond that lakshman rekha, and entered the large tent where I encountered a character casually strolling around with a fake tail. The large tent had a separate enclosure for the women folk. The character playing Hanuman also doubled up as the makeup artist for the male characters. The cast included people from all walks of life, men, women, children (mostly part of the monkey army). They were unconcerned by the photographer with a huge camera stalking them, though my being a woman perhaps did.

The final stage of the Ramlila

The decked up seating area

One of the characters clicks what we now call a ‘selfie’

Red paint to highlight Ram's eyes

The tent behind the stage where effigies were being made for the grand finale

Raavana

A ‘royal’ clicking a cellphone picture of a monkey as he stands tall

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