Bhopal: An artist is an artist who does not know any religion. This is the guiding theme of a light and sound Ramlila show in Prayagraj district of Uttar Pradesh. Ramlila organized by Patthar Chatti Ramlila Samiti includes four Muslim artists. Hamid (make-up man for all the characters), Huma Alam, Alimuddin and Shahzade make up the quartet. He is among around 80-90 artists behind Patthar Chatti Ramlila since 2001.
“Our Ramlila is almost 100 years old, but it was recreated with a light and sound show on the lines of Ramanand Sagar’s tele serial Ramayan. Four Muslim artistes are an important part of our Ramlila,” Dilip Tiwari, director of the Pathar Chatti Ramlila Committee and Allahabad High Court lawyer, told this daily.
Where Hamid is the make-up man, Alimuddin plays the role of the monkey king Bali, Huma Alam plays the role of Arundhati, the wife of Rishi Vashistha and the demon Trijata. The prince is seen in the role of King Dasharatha, the father of Lord Rama. “Another Muslim artist plays the demon Marich and other mythological characters. They are as important to our Ramlila as artists from other communities.”
Huma, the only female Muslim artist, is excited to play the twins, “The actors have no religion and to play the roles in Patthar Chatti Ramleela is extra special. I never felt that I am a Muslim, because of my being from another religion, our team Or there was never a problem with the audience.”
Alimuddin said, “I have been a part of local theater groups for a long time and have been a part of this Ramlila for five years. The satisfaction of being a part of Ramlila is incomparable. Ramlila of Patthar Chatti Ramlila Samiti, staged in Rambagh area of Prayagraj, being in Hindi, not in Awadhi or Sanskrit, helps Muslim artists to create mythological characters with ease.
According to Dharmendra, Vice President of Ramlila Samiti, Ramlila is almost 100 years old, but the lighting and glamor of the show was added to it in 2001. “We cannot imagine Ramlila without our Muslim brothers.” Since 2001, special effects have been given to Ramlila, such as characters using elevated platforms.