“Jambavanta ke vachan suhae
suni Raghuveer harasi ur lae !"
While narrating a quatrain of Goswami Tulsi Das's Ramayana, Jambavanta i.e. Raj Shekhar Upadhyay, a popular artist of Ramanand Sagar's 'Ramayana', says - "Jambavanta was the minister of Lord Shri Ram's army. Lord Ram used to do any work after taking advice from him. ..I have a great desire to go to Ayodhya and participate in the consecration of Lord Ram's temple! But, people have made Ram Yatra a political yatra!” He expresses regret. "What should have happened was that all the characters of the popular serial 'Ramayana' should have been invited on the auspicious occasion of Ram Mandir Pran Pratistha. There was a time when all of us, the actors of Ramayana, had heard the discussion of Ram moving towards extinction. Due to the efforts of Papa Ji Sagar Sahib, it was delivered to every home. Today we all are waiting for the invitation to go to Lord Ram's temple festival."
Only Ram was invited to Ram Mandir
It has been reported that only Ram (Arun Govil) of Ramanand Sagar's 'Ramayana' was kept on the list of guests in the name of television artists and even Sita i.e. Deepika Chikhalia got the invitation with great difficulty. Raj Shekhar explains. "Lord Ram's temple is like a beacon to establish our Sanatan civilization on the world stage and hoist the flag of religion. Fortunately, Lord Ram has chosen PM Modi and CM Yogi for this work."
Made his identity with his voice
Jambavanta's face was not visible in the Ramayana series, he was dressed in a getup, and despite this, his trembling voice was his identity. He says - "I had played many roles in Ramayana like Shridhar, Makraksh, Agnidev, Arya Sumagadh, etc. Call it the grace of Lord Ram that the role in which no one saw my face became my identity. The mask behind which this role he played became immortal. Even today people recognize Jambavanta only by his voice."
Jambavanta character was played by Raj Shekhar
Raj Shekhar's passion for working in cinema from Suriyawan-Bhadohi (Uttar Pradesh) had drawn him to Mumbai. There he had to do small roles to earn his living. "It was during this period of struggle that I met Papa Ji. In those days, all of us from the Ramayana serial used to call writer-filmmaker Ramanand Sagar Saheb 'Papa ji'. Seeing my physique, he transformed me into Jambavanta. In my later years, I did a lot of work. Did episodic roles in many serials. Also produced and directed serials, but the identity remained that of Jambavanta.
Jambavanta was the favorite character of the children
After the Ramayana serial, people used to invite its actors to welcome it or in programs. Apart from Ram Sita Laxman, people used to call Jambavanta in every program. "Jambavanta was also a favorite of children." Raj Shekhar laughs saying this. "I made a serial "Sant Narsi Mehta" for Aastha Channel, played many roles in it, wrote, directed, and worked in many other places, but the joy I felt while doing Ramayana was amazing. Perhaps it was Lord Ram's blessings on him. He ends the conversation by humming a chaupai –
“Jambavanta kah sun raghuraaya
jaapar naath karahu tum daaya.
taahi sada subh kushal nirantar
sur nar muni prasann ta oopar."
Tags : Voice Behind Ramayana | ramanand-sagar
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