Ramlila artists at Lav Kush Ramlila
Ramlila artists at Lav Kush Ramlila

Ramlila 2021: How COVID-19 has affected costume industry

ANI | Updated: Oct 13, 2021 17:26 IST

By Divya Malhotra
New Delhi [India], October 13 (ANI): From the gigantic effigies to the thrilling Ferris wheel and the glint of heavy shimmery dresses of Sita and Rama, Ramlila in many ways emboldens the audience to celebrate Dussehra in the most spirited way.
But, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has brought about several changes in the way events are being held these days and Ramlila, the dramatic folk re-enactment of the life of Lord Ram that is staged for 10 days and concludes on Dussehra, is not an exception.
Among artists, organisers, material suppliers, and decorators, the ones who have been adversely affected are the costume distributors.
Although the havoc of the pandemic has lowered down a bit- resulting in the government giving the go-ahead to celebrate the festivities, numerous restrictions have led to an imposed limitation on the number of days Ramlila can be performed; which has obviously affected the costume distributors' business.
Naveen Joshi, a member of Mayur Vihar-based Mayur Youth Club, which has been successfully organising the Ramlila since 1993, told ANI that there was a ray of hope that beckoned after the COVID-19 spike lowered, but due to the imposed restrictions, the festivities would never be the same.
He also shared that they had purchased the costumes for their artists last year and will be using the same this year on the Dussehra event too.
"The festivities have obviously seen a big difference. Earlier, there used to be thousands of people and now it has been restricted to only 600. Moreover, we used to take the dresses on rent earlier but now we have purchased them to avoid taking them on lease every year," said Naveen.
However, the opposite has happened with the costume distributor for Delhi's Lav Kush Ramlila as they have arranged "brand new costumes" for their artists.
Arjun Kumar, the secretary of Lav Kush Ramlila shared that their committee has arranged brand new costumes for their artists from Mumbai designers, who have added the traditional touch of several states including Kashmir and Kanyakumari. According to him, this was done to add authenticity to the characters.

"Even the dance troop that has participated here performs by sporting these different costumes," Arjun said.

ANI also reached out to 'Ayodhya Ki Ramlila' organisers. Lovekesh Dhaliwal, who is portraying Lord Laxman in the 'Ayodhya Ki Ramlila' show, shared that their costumes have been specially arranged from various states including Delhi and Mumbai.

Interestingly, he also revealed that Ravana's costume has been specially arranged from Sri Lanka, the country from where the demon king actually belonged.

"To add authenticity, all the fabric has been arranged from Ram Nagri- Ayodhya only," he said.

The director of the show, Pravesh Kumar, also shared that the costumes have been adorned with heavy embellishments compared to the previous year's costumes.
He revealed that funds have also been high this year, as compared to the 2020 Ramlila, and costumes were one of their major focus this year.
Despite several COVID-19 protocols in place, the customer distributors for large-scale Ramlila committees have profited this year as well, however, low-scale committee distributors are facing a gloomy business. (ANI)