Kusum Sharma’s Ramleela in Houston, One of the Best in the World!

Photos: Chaya Photo Studio

Photos: Chaya Photo Studio

By Kamlesh Narwani

HOUSTON: I have seen several Ramleela in India but none like the one witnessed today said Ekal Vidyalaya CEO Bajrang Bajra who was one of the Ekal delegates visiting USA invited to Ramleela by grand sponsors Subhash and Saroj Gupta. This sentiment summarizes for the 1000+ audience of the 14th edition of spectacular Ramleela put on display by Kusum Sharma’s Shri Natraj School in association with Kalakriti Performing Arts (a 501c non-profit) showcased on October 7, at VPSS Haveli in Houston.

 Ramleela is a life adaptation of Lord Rama symbolizing victory of good over evil. Over the past 14 years, director of Ramleela, Kusum Sharma has been directing & presenting Ramleela across the nation and this show is having a transformational effect on the lives of performers and the community. With every year, the story telling, costume, props & performances keeps reaching new heights and now this Ramleela can easily compete as one of the best Ramleela in the world. In words of another Houstonian Sachin Chitlangia “We go to places like Thailand to see Ramayana plays, perhaps we should go to Kusum Sharma’s Ramleela, a wonderful plays that happen in our own town Houston. It is one of the finest show of Hindu-Americans in the US and everyone should go and watch it every year”.  Kusum Sharma has been purposeful in highlighting unique noble facets of Lord Rama’s life, and this year the show emphasized the laws of karma, acceptance, and importance of human relationships. Stage portrayal of these qualities has intrinsically enriched the lives of the performers and hopefully the audience.

Ramleela is a Broadway style show and a visual delight with amazing cultural costumes, special effects and lights, acrobatic performances, a heart touch drama, and thrilling dances. The reach of the shows goes beyond cultural boundaries, and appeals to audiences of all ages and genders. This year, the show was covered and attended by Manisha Gandhi & Gautam Jani from TV Asia who interviewed the cast members and production manager. Last year, the Honorable Mayor of Houston Sylvester Turner sent a letter extending his appreciation of this show and its influence on the community. This year, the Honorable Governor of Texas Greg Abbot along with the first lady Cecilia Abbott sent a letter recognizing the show for its rich ancestry and cultural impacts.

 Many of the 200+ volunteer performers and professional artists of this Ramleela are repeat performers and have evolved with this show from young children into fine adults. The Generation Z of this show knows much about the Indian culture’s rich tapestry and its relevance to practical life application. The cast includes several accomplished members like Vipin Sharma as Lord Ram (male protagonist), Kusum Sharma as Sita (female protagonist), Hari Sriram as Raavan (antagonist), Samit Grover as Laxman, Anup Bansal as Raja Dashrath, Dharminder Dargan as Hanuman and Ram Sharma as Raja Janak. This remarkable and memorable event is sponsored and attended by several distinguished personalities, who proudly support Indian culture and heritage.

 Kalakriti Performing Arts graciously extends its gratitude to all its sponsors for their continuous support and guidance. It wouldn’t have been possible to have this magnificent show without its superbly talented performers and volunteers who invested their precious time to make this event glorious one. Kalakriti Performing Arts also send their heartfelt thanks to Alings Hakka Chinese, Mandap Creations, Divine Decor, Deep Foods, VPSS and Shiv Shakti temple, apart from the media partners Indo-American News and TV Asia for their coverage and intent to promote this event.

The Kalakriti team wishes all the readers a happy Dussehra and a prosperous Diwali. May Lord Ram bless you all.

Please visit www.kalakrtitiusa.org for additional information including future cultural events and support with your tax-free donation for even more successful 2019.