Sri Lankan Ballet Maha Ravana Explores the Greatness of Ravana



‘Maha Ravana – The Rising Sun of a Dying Realm’ is a new Ballet (a theatrical representation of a story that is performed to music by trained dancers) from Sri Lanka directed by Pabalu Wijegoonewardane which explores the greatness of Ravana, the demon king in the epic Ramayana.

The ballet critically looks into the character of Ravana and explores the positive traits of including his love for music and art and the building of Pushpaka Vimana, the fly machine.

Thiruni Kelegama writes in the Sunday Times

Pabalu Wijegoonewardane, the director says he didn’t want to subscribe to what he calls an imported legend. ‘I wanted to find out whether Ravana was really a ‘demon’ and whether everything that we blindly believe in the Ramayana about him is true. This is what led me to trace this legend with a new perspective,’ he says adding that Ravana was the only king who managed to wipe out all forms of divisions in Sri Lanka, uniting it.

He not only ruled Sri Lanka but governed a vast kingdom with boundaries extending over South Asia. Pabalu says however that in the hands of the Indian poet Valmiki, Ravana underwent a complete transformation and became the demon king as opposed to the gentle Rama.

Another legend associated with Ravana is his flying machine, the Dandu Monara Yanthra or Pushpaka Vimana, which helped him travel around South Asia. While the concept of a flying vehicle during the time of Ravana seems almost unbelievable, Pabalu says the Vimanika Shasthra by Maha Rishi Bharadvaja has documented evidence of such inventions.

Maha Ravana: The Rising Sun of a Dying Realm will have its first presentation in Sri Lanka on May 30, 2008.

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