HOUSTON, TEXAS, November 1, 2012 (Indo-American News): The Indian holiday season went into high gear with the Ram Leela pageant that was performed this past Sunday, October 28, at the Wortham Center downtown as months of preparation culminated in a spectacle that unfolded in the 1,300 seat Brown Theatre for a four-hour show, which had been sold-out four weeks before the performance. Each person was greeted at the Theatre doors by a girl holding a thali and placing a vermillion tilak on the forehead.
Dr. Arun Verma, the head of the Shri Sita Ram Foundation, USA which produced the pageant, was overwhelmed by the support that the event had received. He opened the show with welcome remarks and then formally recognized the two major sponsors Dr. Durga and Sushila Agarwal and Dr. Virender and Nalini Mathur, and the two chief guests, Indian Consul General P. Harish and his wife Nandita and University of Houston Chancellor and President Renu Khator and her husband Suresh. The directors of the extravaganza, Ratna Kumar and Shiva Mathur were also introduced, as well as the talented dancer and actress Divya Unni who performed a special piece for the event.
Ram Leela is an folk dance art form that is heavily portrayed in India during the period before Dusserah and the story of the exploits of Lord Ram, Sita and Lakhsman are well-known by heart all across India. So, in this sense, many in the audience were well-versed in the portions of the play that follow each other, and often erupted in loud applause when they recognized the characters and followed the story line, such as when the four brothers Ram, Lakhsman, Bharat and Shatrugun are born, grow into strong young men and when they go with the Sage Vishwaamir to fight the demons of the forest.