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Raavan, the Terrible

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Mid-September, I attended a performance of Raavan Aaya, directed by Neel Sengupta and performed by the Aagaz Theatre Trust at Downstairs S47, in Panchsheel Park.

Raavan Aaya is socio-political eye-opener. The Nizamuddin based troupe has put together a power packed performance shedding light on the actions of an administration towards a foe. With India and Pakistan teetering on the edge of another war, this play is a must watch.

The almost comical opening scene shows Ayodhya’s King in Exile, Ram, and his court thrown into a panic as Ram is startled awake by visions of Raavan approaching. Speculation ensues as to what will happen when the terrible King of Lanka arrives with his army. Soon enough, a messenger rushes in, and fearfully announces that Raavan is indeed approaching. Ram and his ministers control the now terror stricken crowd and send the General of the Vaanar Sena into battle, with Ram’s brother Laxman following suit with the express permission of his King.

The comedy is soon forgotten as the play takes a turn to showing the reality of internal politics in the climate of war. It emphasizes on the various public mindsets and the administrations methods to control them, under the table dealings with outside parties, to list a few. The highlight however comes from the fact that Raavan is never actually seen during the play, but in a Macbeth like scene, the Monkey General describes the battle using Ram to play the role of Raavan. What happens there, is best experienced by watching the play at its next performance.

New Delhi, 2016.

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