Dussehra special: Arun Mandola as Lakshman to kill Meghnath, and Baahubali actor Prabhas to kill Ravan in Delhi’s Ramlila 2022

Arun Mandola to feature as Lakshman in this year’s Luv-Kush themed Ramlila in Delhi. The actor, who sounds super excited about it, can’t wait to take the stage and hear what the audience has to say about his debut.

“This Dussehra is going to be special. After a two and a half years break due to Covid Luv Kush Ramlila is going to be organized in Delhi in a grand way. I got an invitation from Luv Kush Ramlila’s president, Shri Arjun Kumar, and I accepted this part. I was always very curious to be a part of this big event. Apart from this, there are a lot of reasons for my excitement this year. India’s Biggest superstar, Baahubali actor Prabhas is coming here as a chief guest. He is going to burn Ravana effigy this time and I am going to kill Meghnath,” he says.

About playing Lakshman, he adds, “It’s quite challenging to perform in front of thousands of people. The concept of the Ramlila stage is very unique. This year, the organizers are making an 80 feet high Ayodhya Ram Mandir stage. It is extremely challenging for the Luv Kush Ramleela team to do this type of concept.”

Happy with the opportunity, Arun plans to feel every moment of this performance and not take too much pressure of performing live in front of a massive crowd. About 400 artists will be participating in the event this time. Veteran actors Asrani, Akhilendra Mishra, MP Manoj Tiwari, among others, are a part of this performance. While will be seen as Narad Muni, Akhilendra will play Ravana and Manoj will be seen in the role of Kevat.

“I am going to enjoy it a lot because I am learning something very interesting. I belong to Delhi and had done my education there. The best part is that my school is near the Ramlila ground and I never imagined that one day I will be performing there. These little things make your journey special, gives you actual happiness. Yes I do feel a bit of pressure from this grand performance but then there is no charm if the work is not challenging. In India there are thousands of Ramlila committees and if we calculate many actors are doing this work. Generally In TV serials or movies, we compete with a few actors, here there are so many. Performing here is a huge responsibility for any actor. The dialogues are in Avadhi language and it’s quite a tough one,” he shares.

Since Arun has been a part of religious TV shows such as Vighnaharta Ganesh and Sankatmochan Mahabali Hanumaan, audiences have seen him in similar roles. At the same time, the actor feels conscious when viewers tend to equate him with his onscreen or onstage avatars.

“It does make me awkward. At the same time, it’s a great achievement as well as a humbling experience because very few actors get the opportunity to play these kinds of immortal characters that make a good impact on the audience. I feel it’s just God’s blessing that I am a part of this event,” he says.

In the past, many actors have been criticised and trolled for the way they are in reality, especially for the clothes they wear, foods they eat and so on. On how he deals with it, Arun adds, “Criticism is a part of any actor’s life, much like all the love we get from the audience. During my show Sankat Mochan Mahabali Hanumaan, I was criticised for my modern clothes. There were many who saw me in modern attire and started saying wrong things which was quite shocking. I was not expecting it. Earlier it used to affect a lot more, now I try explaining to people that we are like them in reality and not what we do onscreen.”