(This story was originally published on 4 October 2022. It is being reposted from The Quint's archive on account of Dussehra 2023.)
Festive season is in the air and so is the mega event of Ramleela. The enactment of Ramayana in different nooks and corners of the city has been a long running tradition from ages. And with Dussehra round the corner, The Quint caught up with many Sitas. So, tighten your seat belt because we are taking you to different Ramleelas from various places to meet artistes playing 'Sita' for the first time.
A TV Actor Who Takes The Stage As Sita
Our first stop is Luv Kush Ramleela where Deblina Chatterjee is stepping on stage for the first time as 'Sita'.
Deblina is an Indian film and TV actress, born and brought up in Kolkata. She started her acting journey with 2011 Bengali movie Ami Aadu and played various roles in TV shows like Sajda Tere Pyaar Mein and Sankatmochan Bahubali Hanuman.
I find the Ravana's character interesting, but it won't go with my personality. I wish to do the role of Kaikeyi someday as I find her journey very intriguing.Debalina Chatterjee, Luv Kush Ramleela
In a fun conversation with Deblina, we found out how this Sita is so different in reel and real life when it comes to patience. This Sita is into making vlogs and capturing every moment while prepping for the final performance.
A Boy Who Transforms Into Sita
The next Sita in this journey is from Ujwa, a small village near Delhi's Dwarka.
Saurabh Ahirwar, a class 10 boy takes the stage as Sita for the first time. The Ram Leela committee of this village has been doing different scenes of Ramayana on different days. But what's unique about their Ram Leela is all the roles are played by men of this village.
When I went there for the first time to watch the rehearsals, I was hoping to get a role. They asked me to laugh, so that I could bag a role in Ravana's army. When I could not laugh properly, they said I would be playing Sita.Saurabh Ahirwar, Ujwa Ram Leela
Saurabh was inspired by his brother Tanuj, who played Sita's character earlier. But as Tanuj became taller, and Ram-Lakshman looked shorter than him, the role of Sita was offered to Saurabh.
My friends make fun of me for playing Sita in Ram Leela but I ignore them. In a few years, you will watch this Saurabh on the big screen.Saurabh Ahirwar, Ujwa Ram Leela
This Sita is into sports and love watching cartoons like Doraemon and Shin-chan. He wants to pursue his career in acting and make his parents proud.
A Muslim Dancer Who Plays Sita
Our final destination to meet Sita ends at Delhi's Mandi House.
Shimran Zaman, a law student from Jamia Millia Islamia, a classical dancer and Sita of Shriram Bharatiya Kala Kendra Ramlila. Her journey at this Ram Leela started as a student who came to learn a classical dance form. Later being offered to play Shurpanakha in 2021, this year she was offered to play Sita.
Being a Muslim girl and a classical dancer, learning about Hindu culture has been a rollercoaster ride. When I'm on stage and people ask me what my religion is, I just say dance is my religion.Shimran Zaman, Shriram Bharatiya Kala Kendra Ramlila
Shimran beautifully portrays Sita's perseverance through her dance moves. She aspires to inspire others and wants to turn her passion for dance into profession. This Sita in real life is active on social media and loves making reels.
Cameraperson: Athar Rather, Shiv Kumar Maurya & Ribhu Chaterjee
Video Editor: Prashant Chauhan