Besides the traditional theme Ramayan of Vishvanath Khuntia,the sansada has produced some other mythological themes like PranayaBallari,Karna Badha,Sarbadharma Samanyaya; Historical themes like Kanchi Abhiyan,Satyagraha of Mahatma Gandhi ,Non-Cooperation Movement, Civil Disobedience Movement; social awareness themes like AIDS consciousness, Menace of Wine Addiction and so on.
SAMPOORNA RAMAYAN : (One hour duration )
The performance begins with Ganesh Puja, Saraswati puja and Shree Ram Puja which follows Tadaka Badha from the Adyakanda episode. The Aranyaka kanda depicts Maricha Badha in the guise of the golden deer and luring of Sita from the Laxman rekha and her abduction by ten headed Ravan. The kiskindhya kanda depicts Hanuman’s search for abducted Sita. Hanuman flies over the ocean and finds her captive in Asoka vatika. He identifies himself to Sita by Rama’s ring and Mathamani. In the concluding episode Laxman kills Indrajeet, Rama kills Ravan and they return to Ayodhya by the Puspak.
PRANAYA BALLARI :(50 minutes duration )
As the puppetry of the tradition was limited itself within the episodes of the Ramayan, no other stories or episodes had been tried to be included though it had immense scope. With the growth of media entertainment it was loosing popularity among the people. Therefore, it was intended to take up new themes and episodes from the Mahabharat, the Panchatantra and other classics to make it more interesting. To achieve the goal aforesaid, for the first time “Pranaya Ballari” composed by Gangadhar Meher, the poet of the nature was exhibited through shadow puppet theatre which received a lot of encouragement from the audience. Pranaya Ballari depicts the story of Dushmanta and Sakuntala. Dusmanta, the king of Bharat had been to forest for hunting animals and see how were his subjects. On his way he felt thirsty and drank water from Sakuntala, the only daughter of Kanwamuni and fell in love at the first sight. Dushmanta spent some days there and mixed freely with Sakuntala. Dushmanta, after giving his gold ring to Sakuntala as memory left the ashram. All this happened when her father, Kanwamuni was absent from the ashram. Sakuntala always thought and thought about Dushmanta for which she neglected serving Durbasa who in provocation cursed her to forget the person forever she was thinking then. At the request of Sakuntala he assured her that if she gave an insigna of love, he would remember her and accept her in marriage. In the meanwhile, she lost the gold ring in the river while bathing. Her father returned and was happy to hear from his daughter that she had married Dushmanta, the most powerful king of Bharat. He wanted to leave Sakuntala at her husband palace as she was about to give birth to a son. Dushmanta, when was asked to accept Sakuntala as his wife refused to do so. So she was brought up by Kashyapa muni . In the meanwhile, a fisherman found the gold ring while cutting a fish and offered it to the king. The king,when saw the ring, remembered Sakuntala and wandered here and there to find out his beloved. He came across a child playing with a lion, while he was on his way to the forest. Dushmanta and Sakuntala met each other and became happy to have Bharat as their son.
DURJANA SANGE KALE BASA:(40 minutes duration )
For the second time, “Durjana Sange Kale Basa” from the Panchatantra has been undertaken in which all characters are birds and animals and teach us a moral that we should keep ourselves away from living in the bad company.
KANCHI ABHIYAN( 45 minutes duration )
On experimental basis a historical project was undertaken by Ravan Chhaya Natya Sansada, Odash for production and it was Kanchi Abhiyan one of the famous legends of Orissa associated with the Hindu lord Jagannath and Balabhadra.
SATYAGRAHA OF MAHATMA GANDHI :
Though, traditionally Ramayan is performed in Ravan chhaya,several new themes have been included keeping pace with demand of the onlookers. Themes like Pranaya Ballari , karana Badha(from the mahabharat), Durjan sange kale bara(from the panchatantra) and meant for children in the age group 5-20 years),Gandhiji’s non violence and satyagraha,Menace of wine addiction and kanchi Abhijan have been taken, produced and staged by Ravan chhaya Group. The theme of Gandhji begins with Gandhi ‘s favourite prayer ‘Bisnava Jana to…………………………………….’ It follows Gandhiji’s satyagraha in Champaran in Bihar, which resulted in bringing agrarian bill that was a great relief to the cultivators and landless tenants which is really face to face with Ahimsa.It also includes Gandhiji’s civil disobedience. The shows comes to an end with Gandhiji’s another favorite prayer “Raghupati Raghaba Raja Ram……………………”
KARNA BADHA (FROM THE MAHABHARAT)(40 minutes duration )
The theme of Karnabadha is an important Geetinatya of Baisnaba Pani, the famous music making playwright of Orissa. After the sad demise of Bhisma, the great general, Karna became the general of Duryodhan on behalf of the Kauravas. He chose Madrapati Shalya to be his charioteer who denied to become so. But at the request of Duryodhana, he agreed to be the charioteer in Karna’s chariot. This news created havoc in the minds of the Pandavas. Lord Krishna asked Arjuna, the third Pandava, whether they would be able to protest them. Arjuna replied that as long as lord Krishna was on their side, there was no question of being defeated. War drum from both sides created terror On the seventeenth day of the Kuru¬kshetra war. On that day lots of warrior on the side of the Kaurav met with their tragic end. Duryodhan became sad, but Sakuni, his uncle advised them not to lose heart at such a situation. The Seventeenth day war became more terrible. Karna after placing Sosaka Nag on the top of his chariot, shot his arrows. Lord Krishna, the charioteer of Arjuna, took the chariot deep into the ground in order to save themselves. Then a face to face war was held between Karna and Arjuna . In the meanwhile, the chariot of Karna got deep into the ground. Karna , after giving up all his weapons requested Arjuna to stop war. Lord Krishna advised Arjuna not to stop war and to kill Karna shooting his arrows as early as possible. Arjuna invited him to fight. Being compelled to fight he held a wheel of his chariot and fought with Arjuna, but, at last Karna was killed in the arrows of Arjuna.
Gandhiji’s Non-cooperationMovement: (40 minutes duration)
Though the cantos of Bichitra Ramayan of Biwanath Khuntia, the music making poet of the eighteenth century is the basic theme in the performance of Ravan Chhaya by Ravan Chhaya Natya Sansada, Odash, the group has inculcated story of the Mahabharat, Panchatantra and social story in due course; presently it is proposed to take up historical story in the performance of shadow puppetry. The theme of Non cooperation movement of Mahatma Gandhi, the father of the Nation, depicts the Rowlat Act and the Jalianawallabagh massacre in April 1919 that led him to non cooperate the British which was otherwise known as the ‘Non Cooperation movement’. We can also see the strategies taken by Mahatma Gandhi in the non cooperation movement and the Chourichura incident on 5 February 1922 that forced him to withdraw the non-cooperation movement and the magical effect of Mahatma Gandhi in the fight of the general Indians against the unrighteous British.
Gandhiji’s Civil Disobedience Movement (40 minutes duration)
Though the cantos of Bichitra Ramayan of Biwanath Khuntia, the music making poet of the eighteenth century is the basic theme in the performance of Ravan Chhaya by Ravan Chhaya Natya Sansada, Odash, the group has inculcated story of the Mahabharat, Panchatantra and social story in due course; presently it is proposed to take up historical story in the performance of shadow puppetry. In the theme of Civil Disobedience movement of Mahatma Gandhi, the father of the Nation, we can see the circumstances i.e. the salt Act and the Jalianawallabagh massacre in April 1919 that led him to call for Civil disobedience movement against the British which was otherwise known as ‘ Dandi March’. We can also see the strategies taken by Mahatma Gandhi in the civil disobedience movement .
MENACE OF WINE ADDICTION: (45 minutes duration)
The theme of ‘Menace of wine addiction’ is based on a social awareness programme depicting the ill consequences of being addicted to wine. We see a drunkard male is ill-treated not only by his wife but also by dogs. Finally, he understands his mistakes and gives up drinking and becomes a good husband.
Quit India Movement:(40 minutes duration)
The theme of Quit India Movement headed by Mahatma Gandhi, the father of our nation includes the circumstances that led and urged Mahatma Gandhi to call for it against the unrighteous British. It also includes the proposal of Mahatma Gandhi before All India Congress Committee at Bombay on 8 August 1942 outlining his plan of action. His proposal was approved by AICC and it was decided to fight against the British with Gandhiji’s Mantra ‘ Do or die ‘. The following day early in the morning all the leading personalities of India’s freedom movement including Mahatma Gandhi were arrested and imprisoned. People large number came out spontaneously to fight against the British which surprised them and they knew it was time for them to leave India very soon.
Sita Thaba: (40 minutes duration )
The theme of Sita Thaba is a very important part from the complete Ramayan , performed by the group. The theme includes Lord Shree-Ram has come to know from his father’s friend Jatayu, the royal falcon that his beloved Sita has been abducted by the ten headed demon king Ravan of Lanka. Lord Shree-ram has killed Bali and has made friendship with his brother Sugriba who , in turn, has helped Lord Shree-Ram find Sita . Asthasenapati headed by Angada has flown out in search of Sita .Crossing the ocean, Hanuman has located Sita in the Ashoka orchard of Ravan and has given the insigna of lord Shree-Ram after having a sweet conversation with her in respect to Lord Shree-Ram’s life.
SWACHHA BHARAT ABHIYAN
Traditionally in Ravan Chhaya , the theme of Ramayan is being performed. Again, we have inculcated stories from Panchatantra , Mahabharata ,Gandhiji’s Satyagraha related Movements in Ravan Chhaya and have come out successful getting a lot of positive response from the onlookers. At present, we have made up to take up the recent phenomenon of Swachha Bharat Abhiyan being commenced by our beloved Prime -minister Hon’ble Narendra Modi to make it a grand success by 2019 ( i.e. Gandhiji’s 150th anniversary ) and the artistes of Ravan Chhaya Natya Sansada would like to be a part of the mission propagating” Clean India, Green India “ among the shadow puppet lovers.
The theme is Swachha Bharat Abhiyan includes the slogans of our beloved priminiter such as “ Cleanliness from inside and outside
Health automatically reside both side”
“ When we refuse to refuse
It’s our India you abuse” and so on.
The utility of cleanliness will be intimated to the onlookers through shadow Puppetry which is a very strong medium towards cleanliness to reach the general public.
Beti Bachao and Beti Padhao
Traditionally in Ravan Chhaya , the theme of Ramayan is being performed. Again, we have inculcated stories from Panchatantra , Mahabharata ,Gandhiji’s Satyagraha related Movements in Ravan Chhaya and have come out successful getting a lot of positive response from the onlookers. We have taken up the recent phenomenon of Beti Bachao and Beti Padhao being commenced by our beloved Prime -minister Hon’ble Narendra Modi and the artistes of Ravan Chhaya Natya Sansada would like to be a part of the mission propagating the value of girls’ education among the shadow puppet lovers.
The theme Beti Bachao and Beti Padhao includes the slogans of our beloved prime -minister such as “ Education for All “Our Mantra should be: ‘Beta Beti, Ek Samaan’ “Let us celebrate the birth of the girl child. We should be equally proud of our daughters. I urge you to sow five plants when your daughter is born to celebrate the occasion.” -PM Narendra Modi to citizens of his adopted village Jaipur.
Though the cantos of the Bichitra Ramayan of Biswanath Khuntia, the music making poet of the eighteenth century is the basic theme for the performance of Ravan Chhaya Natya Sansada, situated at Odash , the group has inculcated stories from the Mahabharat, Panchatantra, Historical stories like Satyagraha of Mahatma Gandhi, Civil Dis-obedience Movement, Non-cooperation Movement , Quit India movement and social stories in due course; presently it has been proposed to take up short stories from the Ramayan for the performance of shadow puppetry.
The theme which is proposed to be undertaken is” Lanka-Podi” for the performance of Ravan Chhaya. In episodes of Lanka-Podi , we can see ShreeRam makes friendship with Sugriba with the help of Hanuman and kills Bali, sends Asthasenapati in search of Sita, Hanuman enters Lankagarh and locates Sita in the Asoka orchard , Hanuman gives insignia of Lord Shree Rama to Sita, destroys the royal orchard of ten headed Ravan, becomes arrested by the soldiers of Ravan and is taken to the court of Ravan who orders to wrap his tail with clothes and fires it . Hanuaman flies from one housetop’s to the other burning the houses which Ravan sees from his royal court in sad.
CHILIKA: ITS’ PRESENT AND PAST:
Traditionally in Ravan Chhaya , the theme of Ramayan is being performed. Again, we have inculcated stories from the Panchatantra , the Mahabharata , Gandhiji’s Satyagraha related Movements in Ravan Chhaya and have come out successful getting a lot of positive response from the onlookers. We have taken up the recent theme of “ Chilika: its’ Present and Past “ the story of Odisha’ s rich cultural heritage and the artistes of Ravan Chhaya Natya Sansada would like to be a part of the mission propagating the rich cultural heritage of Odisha among the shadow puppet lovers.
To make it a grand success Ravan Chhaya Natya Sansada has seriously taken up different activities related to this production.
Ravan Chhaya Natya Sansada would frame courses of study for training in Ravan chhaya in respect to the music and puppet dance to the different songs and dialogues of Chilika: its’ Present and Past. Puppets of the new project will be prepared according to the need of the new script , the song and music with manipulation of puppets will be rehearsed and the new production“ Chilika: its’ Present and Past “ which includes the story of Odisha’ s rich cultural heritage will be staged in two local schools.
The theme of “ Chilika: its’ Present and Past “ includes the milkmaid Manika offers curd to Lord Jagannath while travelling to Kanchi along with his elder brother, the mythology of newly married girl Kalijai travelling to her Father-in-law in a boat which sank in the lake ,Kalijai lost her life and turned into goddess Kalijai, Gopabandhu Das a great poet and freedom fighter of Odisha being captured by the sight of lake Chilika wants the train to pause a while there to enjoy the scenic beauty, the story of the Sadhabas travelling abroad from its mouth on business and the sight of lake Chilika being looted at present.
Though the cantos of the Bichitra Ramayan of Biswanath Khuntia, the music making poet of the eighteenth century is the basic theme for the performance of Ravan Chhaya Natya Sansada, situated at Odash , the group has inculcated stories from the Mahabharat, Panchatantra, Historical stories like Satyagraha of Mahatma Gandhi, Civil Dis-obedience Movement, Non-cooperation Movement , Quit India movement and social stories in due course; presently it has been proposed to take up short stories from the Ramayan for the performance in the shadow puppetry. As such , the Sanasada has proposed to produce Ravna Badha during the year 2018-19 with financial assistance from the Director, Odia Language, Literature and Culture, Odisha, Bhubaneswar.
In episodes of Ravan Badha , we can see ShreeRam makes friendship with Bibhisahan who advises his elder brother the ten headed Ravan not to make enemy with Lord Shree Ram as He is the God Almighty. Ravan disobeys his advice but plans to kill Lord Shree Ram and prepares himself to fight against him with the help of demoniac soldiers. This makes Hanuman annoys and he enters the royal orchard of Ravan, destroys it, kills the demoniac soldiers of Ravan, kills Indrajeeta the most powerful son of Ravan. Ravan becomes furious and after making sacred sacrifice before Goddess fights with Lord shreeRam and finally gets killed by Him. After that Lord Shree returns Ayodhya with his beloved wife Sita and brother Laxman on the Puspak.
LIVING IN THE BAD COMPANY :(40 minutes duration
”Living in Bad Company” from the Panchatantra composed by Vishnu Sharma has been undertaken in which all characters are birds and animals and the story teaches us a moral that we should keep ourselves away from living in the bad company.
The scene wise summary of the aforesaid theme is elaborated as follows:
(Dense forest - deer running past, entered the lion, tiger Hyena, Jackal, Vulture and Crow) One-day lion, the king of the jungle roams in the company of other animals. Without finding any prey he orders the animals to find out one as he feels hungry. The other animals requested him to rest and set out to find out a prey. The lion also moved slowly behind them.
On one side entered a camel, on the other side entered the tiger and Jackal. Jackal said, “Look uncle, there is a peculiar animal which I have never seen.” Tiger looking at the camel said, “Oh! By grace of God we have found a prey without any effort.” Jackal said to the tiger, “Let us go quickly to the king to deliver this good news who will be happy to hear.” Then they departed turning back.
THIRD SCENE:Lion was sitting under the shadow of a tree. Entered the tiger and the Jackal said, “Oh king! We found a prey, his legs and neck are long and I have never found such animal. Perhaps, by mistake he has entered the forest, but his meat will be great feast for us.” The crow replied, “He is a camel, lives in the village and carries load of men. But he will be delicious for our meals”. The lion said, “Even if an enemy comes in good faith, to kill him is a great sin. Tell him not to be afraid. Bring him to me and I will ask him why he has come to the forest. (The Jackal went and called him and the camel entered).The camel said, “Listen, Oh! King of forest, my name is Krathanaka. I am a camel and the villagers kept me to carry their load. As it became very painful, I have come to the forest. Oh king of the forest, give me protection. The lion said in reply to live there without fear, like a friend.
One day a herd of elephants entered the forest and damaged the forest breaking and uprooting the branches. All other animals ran in fear to seek protection.
The lion was resting under a tree. All the animals came hurriedly and said, “ Oh! king of the forest, a herd of elephants have destroyed the forest. We have come to you and pray you to rescue us from this disaster. Listening to them the lion reached and said, “Come with me, I will surely destroy them” SIXTH SCENE:
From one side entered the lion with his followers. From the other side entered a giant tusker with his herd. Then ensues the fight between the lion and the tusker. The lion jumped over him and the tusker pulled him down by his tusk. Both became injured by this fight. The elephants went away. Since that day, the lion lost his strength.
(Wounded lion in the middle - all other animals surrounding him) The lion asked the crow to fly and locate a prey. So that he can go and kill it very easily. The crow replied that he had already covered the area but could not find one either. Jackal said, “I have a suggestion. Let us kill Krathanaka, the camel and eat to satisfy our hunger. Lion roared and said, “No, I will not allow as he has taken shelter under me. The animals told him to kill one of them and satisfy his hunger. At this time, Krathanaka entered. Jackal said, Oh! Brother, where had you been. If The crow said, When there is no alternative, I offer myself to the king, Let him eat me.” Then the Jackal said, “You are so small that you will not be a morsel of food. So I offer myself to satisfy the hunger of the king.” The tiger said, “You are also small and you eat our leftovers, so uneatable. Let the king kill me and satisfy himself.” Krathanaka listening to them felt that how good were the animals and how good was the lion. The lion didn’t kill anybody even though they offered themselves. So I will offer him and similarly he will also spare my life. He couldn’t understand that it was a plea of the animals to kill him. He thought that by doing this he will also be praised and he did so. The moment he offered himself to the king, all the other animal pounced upon him. They tore him to pieces and devoured him. So it has been said—To live in the company of bad persons means to bring disaster.
GAUTAM BUDHA : 45 MINUTES DURATION
The new production i.e. Gautam Budha depicts the story of Budha, the enlightened one. Kapilabastu the kingdom was ruled by Monarch Sudhodana, the great king of Sakya dynasty during 600BC.The king was happy when a son was born to his queen Mayadevi and named him Sidhartha . From the ascetic he came to know that his son would leave the royal palace to find solution to human’s miseries and sufferings. So Monarch Sudhodana tried his best and meticulously planned to ensure that his son does not know what suffering is. Every attempt was made by the monarch to ensure that death even suffering remain unknown to Sidhartha. Sudhodana took precautions and arranged marriage of Prince Sidhartha with the most beautiful Yasodhara at the age of Sixteen. But everything in the world seemed useless for him. One day he asked Channa, the charioteer to go round the city for outing. While travelling he saw an old man and asked Channa whether he will be old man one day. On the other day he saw a sick man and wanted reply from Channa. On the third day he saw procession of dead body carried to the cremation ground and wanted clarification from Channa about it. He was in deep sorrow seeing the above three scenes. On the fourth day he saw an ascetic which really changed his life a lot. He then decided to leave the palace to find solution to all these sufferings and miseries . On one mid- night when his wife and son were in deep sleep Sidhartha left the royal place and went into the deep forest for meditation at the age of 29. Under a tree near Budhigaya , he medicated continuously for six years and finally he got the knowledge and became Budha, the enlightened one. He preached the eight middle paths to overcome sufferings and miseries before his five disciples,. They were i) Right Views, ii) Right Thought, iii) Right Speech, iv) Right action, v)Right Livelihood, vi) Right efforts, vii) Right mindfulness and viii) Right meditation.