COVID-19 crisis: Sword of restrictions hangs over puja festivities, Ram Leela in UP

The star-studded Ram Leela at Lakshman Qila on the banks of the river Saryu in Ayodhya will be staged without an audience. Instead, it would be available virtually and aired live on social media.

Published: 28th September 2020 06:55 PM  |   Last Updated: 28th September 2020 06:55 PM   |  A+A-

BJP MP Manoj Tiwari with Ramleela organising committee in New Delhi | Express

BJP MP Manoj Tiwari is part of the star cast of the Ram Leela in Ayodhya | Express

Express News Service

LUCKNOW: With the pandemic cloud hovering over Dussehra festivities in the state, the Yogi Adityanath government has hinted about putting restrictions on the installation of ‘puja pandals’ during the Durga Puja celebrations in the state, while the proposed star-studded Ram Leela at Lakshman Qila on the banks of the river Saryu in Ayodhya will be staged sans audience.

As per highly placed sources, the state government is contemplating orders to restrict installation of idols of Goddess Durga and other deities in the pandals during the upcoming puja festival. The convention could be broken this year with the spread of COVID-19 still going strong in the state.

Government authorities claimed that since no such celebration including Ram Leela and puja pandal would be allowed at public places and on roads, people will have to limit the festivities to the confines of their homes due to the pandemic.

Meanwhile, the star-studded Ram Leela show will be staged in Ayodhya without an audience. Instead, it would be available virtually and aired live on all social media platforms including Facebook and YouTube.

For the first time, the proposed Ram Leela to be performed in the temple town will be aired in Urdu along with 13 other regional languages between October 17 and 25. Sources close to Meri Maa Foundation, the organiser of the Ram Leela, said the broadcast in Urdu would be a historic moment.

The star cast includes BJP MP from North-East Delhi Manoj Tiwari, who will play the role of Angad, Gorakhpur MP and Bhojpuri actor Ravi Kishen will be Bharat, Vindu Dara Singh will play Lord Hanuman, actor Raza Murad will portray Ahiravan and Asrani will appear as Narad Muni. The most important character of Ravana would be essayed by actor Shahbaz Khan and Rakesh Bedi will play Vibhishan, said sources.

The Ram Leela will be organised in collaboration with the tourism and cultural department of the Uttar Pradesh government. While the preparations for the grand show are going on in the temple town, the Ayodhya district administration has also given its nod to the Ram Leela but in strict compliance with the COVID-19 protocol.

Besides, a mammoth LED screen will be installed above the stage to showcase the performances. “We’ll arrange state-of-the-art light and sound system so that dialogues are clear during the broadcast. The special attraction of the event will be ‘Ramraj,’ a 30-minute programme on Ayodhya’s history and also places which Lord Ram visited during the exile,” said one of the organisers.


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