Ramlila is nothing but a stage representation of Epic Ramayana. Epic Ramayana is based on the life and times of Lord Rama, the Maryada Purushottam or the ‘The best among the dignified’. Though Ramlila is staged all over the UP but the ones that are staged in cities like Varanasi, Ram Nagar and Chitrakoot have charms of their own.
The story of Lord Rama and his entourage is so popular in India that it has become a part and parcel of Indian psyche. The story of Ramayana injects ethics to the Indian mainstream.Ramlila of Uttar Pradesh has a charm of its own. There are as many as 4 different schools of Ramlila in Uttar Pradesh only. The first one is the pantomimic style with a predominance of jhankis – tableaux pageants. The second one is the dialogue – based style with multi – local staging. The third and the fourth one are the operatic style that draws its musical elements from the folk operas of the region and the stage – Ramlila of the professional troupes called “mandalis”, respectively.
Ramlila or Ram Lila as it is written some times, is the stage adaptation of that very Ramayana. This play is generally staged during the annual Dussehra festival in Uttar Pradesh that culminates to Vijayadashmi; the day Rama became victorious by annihilating Ravana, the symbol of evil. The play is staged in 10 segments where one segment is staged everyday. Most of the times, all the actors are mare even the one representing female protagonist.
The greatest attraction is the austere character of the Ramlila. If there is any art form in India that has been unaffected by the onslaught of technology, it is this. To this day electric lights, mikes and loudspeakers are not used, whereas the average audience is rarely less than ten thousand on any day. Surely, the colorful spectacle is worth visiting.