On stage at the Red Fort this year, Raja Janak was instantly recognised by the audience. As soon as Angad walked on stage, murmurs went through the crowd, while several minutes were spent discussing who was playing the role of Rishi Atri. The Luv Kush Ramlila, one of the oldest in the city, roped in politicians to be part of the 10-day affair. While the role of Raja Janak, Sita’s father, was played by Union Minister and Chandni Chowk MP Harsh Vardhan, Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari played the role of Angad.
Leader of Opposition Vijender Gupta was Rishi Atri, while Hoshiarpur MP Vijay Sampla played the role of Himavat, Parvati’s father.
This is not the first time that big names were seen on stage during Ramlila — but it is usually film and TV stars who play these roles. North East Delhi MP Manoj Tiwari has previously played the role of Kewat.
“We reached out to politicians a few months ago and many of them agreed. Area MLA Alka Lamba was initially supposed to play the role of Ahilya, but things did not work out. On Wednesday, we had RJD MLA Sanjay Yadav and Chandni Chowk councillor Ravinder Kumar as participants. We have always reached out to big names from all fields. Participation from politicians adds another layer as people get to see them in another role,” said a Luv Kush Ramlila spokesperson.
“Most politicians are able to devote only a few hours to the Ramlila and are given roles where they can manage their responsibilities as well as these roles easily,” he added.
Vijender Gupta said: “I played some characters in Ramlila when I was in college and school, but since then, it was my first performance on a stage like this. It is a coincidence that so many BJP leaders participated this year. I had a great time playing the role. Sometimes when you are an elected representative, people view you only in that role. These occasions and celebrations help you connect more with people and tell them that you are also one of them.”