Austin Sparkle’s in Diwali with Kusum Sharma’s Ramleela

Photos: Radha Madhav Dham & Shhyam Moorthy

Photos: Radha Madhav Dham & Shhyam Moorthy

By Kamlesh Narwani

AUSTIN, TX: Ramleela is a dramatic adaptation of the ancient Hindu epic Ramayana based on Lord Rama’s life (seventh avatar of God Vishnu). Ramleela is globally enjoyed during Diwali to celebrate the return of Lord Rama and Goddess Sita to their Ayodhya Kingdom after 14 years of exile.

Kalakriti Performing Arts (501c non-profit) under the direction of Kusum Sharma, has showcased Ramleela (Kalakriti’s flagship production) and several other cultural shows in Houston for the past 13 years. Kalakriti has again delivered an extravagant Ramleela performance on October 14, at the Radha Madhav Dham in Austin, Texas. A team of 80 volunteer crew members with all production items logistically commuted from Houston to Austin and delivered an opulent show.


Kalakriti’s Houston Ramleela is a 2.5-hour production with over 170 crew members. As this Ramleela is a first-time experience for Austin population, Kusum eloquently customized the show to a brisk 60-minute, whilst rigorously maintaining the show’s opulence features including but not limited to the visual & sound effects, English language delivery, aerial stunts, and beautiful costumes and props.  


Over 6000 people attended the show with 1500 packed in the main auditorium and rest viewing it on the live projected temple screens. The crowd was continually filled with applause and excitement during the show that extended for several of hours post show with the fireworks and the crowd devotionally engaging with the Ram Darbar cast (Lord Ram, Sita, Laxman, & Hanuman).


The audience members in this Ramleela presentation included all age groups enjoying from children (the dance numbers) to adults (production effects and narration) and senior citizens (connecting to religious prayers like Hanuman Chalisa & Ramayan Chaupais). This show witnessed a growing loyal base of Houstonians (drove to watch the show), with the addition of Austinites, and attendees coming from the mid-west Chicagoans. This cross-cultural appeal of this presentation was visible with an audience mix of the Asian and Western community members.

The remarkable success of this Ramleela is a milestone testament to Kalakriti’s diligent achievement in spreading the cultural & ethical values of the Indian Culture. The event also capped a very successful and busy 2017 for Kalakriti with 5 conducted performances and 1 cancelled due to Harvey.

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