- Purchase/rental options available:
Lav-Kush Ramlila, staged at the Red Fort, has gained popularity in recent years amongst other similar dramatic re-enactments of the epic saga. Its attractiveness, owing to its casting, includes film and television personalities from entertainment industries across India. While the festivities of many Indian celebrations allow modern audiences to bear witness to an amalgam of ritual, religion, and histrionics, the Ramayan maintains a prime position in shaping the national narrative. What helps sustain its position in the Indian psyche is accessibility to the story of Ram. This article draws attention to the language of the Lav-Kush Ramlila, specifically through translations of three pivotal scenes: Ram's Exile, Lakshman Cuts Off Shurpnakha's Nose, and Hanuman Fetches Sanjivani, as derived from its live performance in 2016 and 2018. The translations are accompanied with summaries and supporting commentaries to further illuminate the performance, its sub-text, and cultural references, as well as an introduction that locates purposeful connections between the performance and Ramanand Sagar's Ramayan which continues to serve public memory, collective sentiment, and Hindutva politics.
Radhica Ganapathy is Assistant Professor in the School of Theatre & Dance at West Virginia University. She holds a Ph.D. in Theatre from Texas Tech University. Ganapathy began her career in theatre as a professional actor in New Delhi, India. Prior to WVU, Ganapathy taught at The Pennsylvania State University Berks Campus and Stockholm University in Sweden. She has collaborated with various artists, performers, and scholars in India, Sweden, and the United States. Ganapathy's research engages in critical representations of race, class, gender, and sexuality in twentieth century theatre and performance. Ganapathy is specifically interested in examining notions of performance and performativity in art and the everyday life.