The Ramayana in a new light

‘Ra-Mayanam’ aired on Amrita TV gives a contemporary take to the epic

Is the Ramayana only about Rama, the ideal son and the ideal king? How about looking at the epic through the eyes of Sita? Or, what if the text is re-interpreted in a different context in today’s world? That’s what the new show Ra-Mayanam on Amrita TV attempts to do.

The month of Karkkidakam is also known as ‘Ramayana Masam’, when many Hindu households in Kerala have the custom of people reading the epic from cover to cover.

It is also recited in temples and television channels have jumped in with their own versions of the tradition. The programme on Amrita, conceptualised and directed by Reji Syne, has incorporated elements of dance and theatre, instead of readings from the text.

“It has become a ritual in temples and households to read Thunchathu Ezhuthachan’s Adhyatma Ramayanam throughout the month. But in this show, we want to highlight that the epic is relevant every day of the year as it deals with relationships and has a philosophy that can refine the mind and help readers and listeners deal with grief and stress,” says Reji.

Reji Syne

Reji Syne
 
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Special arrangement

Ra-Mayanam, the title, is formed by splitting the word ‘Ramayanam’. “‘Ra’ means ‘darkness’ and ‘Mayanam’ means ‘should vanish’. Thus a better understanding of the epic can shed light into our lives,” he says.

The programme has three segments. “We want every one to watch the show and since attention span is less, we have gone in for brief segments,” he says.

‘Maithili Manogatham’, the first segment, understands the epic through Sita’s perspective. “Our minds have been fashioned to think about the text as the story of Lord Rama. The viewers get to know more about Sita and the values she upheld. Not many might have read that as a young girl she had lifted the heavy Thrayambaka bow and used it. Later, the same bow was lifted and broken by Rama to win her hand in marriage. She is also worshipped as the goddess of agriculture,” he says.

Keeping it short

The five-minute segment is presented through dance recitals by Uthara Antharjanam. “We have incorporated elements from different traditional dance forms of India. The costume too has been designed by blending features of different dance styles. The colour scheme complements the theme,” says Reji. Theatreperson Prasanth Narayanan is the narrator and lyricist, while music is by Margi Ratnakaran.

Kalamandalam Jishnu Prathap in ‘Ra-Mayanam’ on Amrita TV

Kalamandalam Jishnu Prathap in ‘Ra-Mayanam’ on Amrita TV
 
| Photo Credit:
Special arrangement

In the second section, Kalamandalam Jishnu Prathap presents 25 instances from the text through Chakyarkoothu. “The Chakyar reflects upon contemporary society and events as he acts out the episodes,” Reji says. The third segment is ‘Prathidwani’ in which experts answer 25 questions about the epic posed by children.

Mochitha Prakriti anchors the programme. It is aired Monday to Friday at 7 pm.

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