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Web Series Review | Ramyug: An epic crash course for the youth

Ramyug - Filmmaker Kunal Kohli decided to give the new generation, a dose of the epic, but in his own style

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‘Ramyug’ picks up the popular episodes from the narrative and present in a contemporary style, very brief, like pointers in a powerpoint presentation. Kunal Kohli’s ‘Ramyug’ is a concise extract of the Epic Ramayan. ‘Ramyug’ narrates the life of Rama, the legendary prince of Ayodhya as a youth, his marriage to Sita, exile with Sita & Lakshman & travels across the forests. The kidnapping of Sita by Ravana – the King of Lanka, which resulted in war (of good Vs evil) and Ram’s eventual victory and bringing back of Sita.

For the audience of age group 40-50 and above, the closest reference point of Ramayan in any dramatized form is Ramanand Sagar’s 1987 TV series Ramayan, which had recently re-telecast amid the ongoing pandemic. And comparison would be evident. However, both are as different as chalk and cheese in many ways.

Kunal Kohli’s ‘Ramyug’ may stand out as one of the first to present the story in natural scenic beauty coupled with technological enhancements of CGI and VFX. The action & stunts are the ones that today’s youth would relate to and enjoy in mainstream films / series. Another factor is the makeup and getup / styling in general, for instance the contemporary hair styles that too without any headgear, etc. Most lead characters are shown with stubble. In fact, the lead characters are all beefed up keeping in-line with the current trend of 6-8 pack physique.

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Filmmaker Kunal Kohli decided to give the new generation, a dose of the epic, but in his own style. The dialogue & language is easy to understand. ‘Ramyug’ is not very heavy on dialogues, they are subtle and simple. However, the important aspect of the dialogues is that they can be easily related-to in today’s times.

Sample these two instances, when Sita describes Ram’s character in the beginning and the second right at the end after Ram’s victory over Raavan.

Adbhut drishya tha, Rishi Vishwamitra aagey chal rahe the, unke peeche yeh (Ram) aur unke peeche anuj Lakshman… mano vartman ke peeche bhavishya chal raha ho, gyan ke peeche karm chal raha ho aur saadhna ke peeche shakti. Lakshman inse (Ram) ek kadam peeche chal rahe the jaise ve inki dhal ho, aur inka (Ram) prayas ye tha, inki chaaya Lakshman par padti rahe taaki woh dhoop se bache rahen. Jo apne peeche chalne wale ki itni chinta karta ho uske peeche kaun nahin chalna chahega?

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Raavan: Tumhe kya lagta hai Ram… ek Raavan ko maarne se asatya, anyay aur adharm sadaa ke liye samapth ho jayega?
Ram: Nahin, kyunki tamogunn bhi prakriti ka ek anivarya ansh hai.
Raavan: Hoga, kintu Raavan ek vyakti nahin, ek vichaar hai, jo mere aur tumhare jaane ke baad bhi jeevit rahega Ram! Alag Alag namo se avtaar leta rahega… anant kaal tak.
Ram: Raavan ek soch nahin, ek durbalta hai jisse badhakar Ram ek shakti hai… Raavan ek vichaar nahin vikrati hai… Raavan ek chunauti hai apne bheetar ke Ram ko janam dene ka. Raavan ek swabhaav hai jo tumhare pichale janmo ke phal ke karan tumhe mila hai. Maine tumhe usi ka phal diya hai.

Though the makers have chosen to keep most of its cast relatively new, actors like Tisca Chopra, Dalip Tahil and Anup Soni also play important roles in the web series. Ram played by Diganth Manchale made his Bollywood debut in ‘Wedding Pullav’ released in 2015. Akshay Dogra who plays Lakshman was seen in 2018 TV serial ‘Dil Hi Toh Hai’. Vivan Bhatena playing a beefed-up Hanuman is noteworthy, since we’ve mostly seen him as a boy-next-door or in negative characters.

Another major high point of Kunal Kohli’s ‘Ramyug’ is a special rendition of the Hanuman Chalisa featuring megastar Amitabh Bachchan and Ustad Zakir Hussain, composed by Rahul Sharma.

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While there are favourable points in Kunal Kohli’s ‘Ramyug’ as expressed above, there are points that should have been taken care of.

First and foremost, the generation that has seen and loved Arun Govil, Sunil Lahiri, Arvind Trivedi and others in Ramanand Sagar’s Ramayan, would find it difficult to accept the new-age characters for the sheer reason of the literal presentation of the characters and their acting prowess.

There was a huge scope to extract better expressions and overall performance to etch a mark in the hearts of the audience. Remember Arun Govil’s smile, Arvind Trivedi’s dialogue delivery?

Certain frames showing the characters wearing ‘slipper’ type footwears could have been edited out or worked upon. It disconnects to see Bharat carrying Ram’s ‘khadau/paduka’ and then wearing slippers and the wanar sena with ‘gum boots’

Conclusion
Kunal Kohli’s ‘Ramyug’ could be termed as a crash course in understanding values, etc. depicted in Ramayan. The crux of Ramyug is well explained in the conversation between Ram and Raavan which means that every yug (era) will have Raavan and a Ram to beat the Raavan. Don’t miss the series for this and many more contemporary dialogues.

The lead cast of Kunal Kohli’s ‘Ramyug’ features Diganth Manchale, Akshay Dogra, Aiswarya Ojha, Kabir Duhan Singh, Vivan Bhathena, Tisca Chopra, Dalip Tahil, Anup Soni. Costume designed by Mandira Shukla, Action Director Abbas Ali Moghul, Lyrics by Aman Akshar.

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