Becoming the gods they play | Dussehra in Old DelhiEtti Bali
Backstage is where the theatre comes alive. Backstage is what breathes life into theatre. The stage wouldn’t be what it is if not for its other half. Its better half. Hurried hands and feet, busy with a kaleidoscope of activities, preparing for a world of wonder to be unveiled.
It is here that we met the gods. Krishna Verma and Deepak Verma are brothers from Muradabad. Every year, around the time of Ram-Leela celebrations, they come to Delhi. Krishna, the elder brother, plays Lakshman and Deepak, the younger brother, plays Ram.
He has been playing the titular role for the last nine years and loves everything about Ram-Leela–the story, the sets, the costumes, the lights. He has read the Ramcharitmanas several times over.
“Often, people come to meet us, touch our feet and take our blessings. They think we are the gods that we play. But we are not,” he says, his face devoid of any expression as his makeup is setting in. The glitter around his eyes and the bright orange lip tint illuminate his features.
Costumes in place, the brothers take a small break for refreshments before ascending the stage as the revered princes, all set to make their journey to Mithila.