Ramayana: The Legend of Prince Rama

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Ramayana: The Legend of Prince Rama
Ramayana, The Legend of Prince Rama.jpg
Directed byYugo Sako
Produced byYugo Sako
Screenplay byNarendra Sharma
Rani Burra
Ram Mohan
Koichi Sasaki
Hiroshi Onogi
Ram Mohan
Yugo Sako
Based onThe Ramayana
by Valmiki
StarringNikhil Kapoor
Rael Padamsee
Uday Mathan
Mishal Varma
Noel Godin
Music byVanraj Bhatia
Edited byMakato Arai
Wayne Schmidt
Production
company
Nippon Ramayana Film Co.
Release date
  • 10 May 1992 (1992-05-10) (Japan)
  • 9 June 1992 (1992-06-09) (India)
[citation needed]
Running time
135 minutes
CountryJapan
India
LanguageEnglish
Budget$13 million[1]

Ramayana: The Legend of Prince Rama (ラーマヤーナ ラーマ王子伝説, Rāmayāna: Rāma-Ōji Densetsu) is a 1992 Indo-Japanese traditional animation feature film directed by and produced by Yugo Sako[2] and based on the Indian epic the Ramayana. The original English version with Sanskrit songs was screened and released on home video under various names including Ramayana: The Legend of Prince Rama and Warrior Prince.

This film was made as a part of the 40th anniversary of India-Japan diplomatic relations and was worked on by teams from both countries. It was released in the United States in a different, further localized English dub with narration by James Earl Jones, prince Rama voiced by Bryan Cranston and additional music by Alan Howarth[3] as The Prince of Light: The Legend of Ramayana in 2001. Moriyasu Taniguchi was an uncredited character designer and the original music was composed by Vanraj Bhatia.

It was the opening film of the 2000 Lucca Animation Film Festival in Italy, a highlight of the Cardiff Animation Film Festival in the United Kingdom and won Best Animation Film of the Year at the 2000 Santa Clarita International Film Festival in the United States.[2]

Plot[edit]

Introduction[edit]

A number of demons are terrorising the sages. They attack and kill in masses. One powerful sage Vishwamitra, who has been blessed with divine weapons, cannot defeat them all alone. He then prays to the Gods. The Gods answer and instruct Vishwamitra to seek the young Prince of Ayodhya Rama- a noble and strong fighter with fair skin and black hair. Ayodhya is a rich and beautiful kingdom ruled by a powerful king called Dasharath. He has 3 wives and 4 sons. Vishwamitra seeks the King and requests Rama's aid. Dasharath rejects as he is in fear for Rama's young life. However, Rama steps up and gracefully accepts the Sage's request. Rama's younger brother Lakshman joins him for support.

The Sage takes the brothers to the demon-infested forest where a giant demon called Tadakha has been leading the demon attacks. Rama is instructed to put an end to this. The Sage then teaches the brothers prayers which attracts Tadakha- a giant demon. Lakshman shoot an arrow at her but only injures her. Tadakha throws a tree but the brothers move out of the way. Rama arms himself with an arrow and chants a mantra. He shoots the arrow which kills Tadakha.

Rama and Lakshman are awarded divine weapons granted by Vishwamitra. While practicing with the weapons, Tadakha's son Maricha seeks revenge on Rama and attacks him. He breathes fire on Rama who is forced to shield himself. Lakshman kills some of the other demons along with Rama. Maricha escapes and promises to seek revenge. Sage Vishwamitra awards Rama with a chakra which he will need in a great battle.

The three head to the kingdom of Mithila where an opportunity to marry the beautiful princess Sita. Rama and Sita create a love at first sight. To win her hand in marriage, you must lift up a divine bow. Only a humble and compassionate man will be able to lift it. Many kings came close to lifting it but failed. Then Rama steps up and lifts the bow. However he struggles but with Sita's prayers he lifts it and marries Sita. They live for many years in peace and love.

The exile of Rama[edit]

After many years, Rama grows older. He now has longer black hair. King Dasharath then gives an announcement that he wants to step down from the throne. He announces Rama to be king which Rama gladly accepts. Everyone is happy for Rama to be king apart from a maid called Mantra.

Mantra meets Dasharath's second wife Kaikeyi who is the mother of Rama's brother Bharat. Bharat and Shatrugan (another one of Rama's brothers) are in another kingdom on a visit. Mantra tells Kaikeyi that Rama does not deserves to be king and convinces Kaikeyi to go against the King and make sure Bharat is king. Kaikeyi meets Dasharath and reminds him that he owes her two boons. Kaikeyi then tells her boons to Dasharath which were Bharat to be king and Rama to be exiled for 14 years. This upsets Dasharath greatly.

Rama hears these wishes and has no ill feelings to Kaikeyi. He respectfully accepts her wishes and gets ready to depart for the forest. Lakshman shouts at Rama saying he must not give up so easily but Rama calms him down and says he must accept his families wishes. Sita then joins Rama to support him and Lakshman does the same. Rama changes his attire- He has cloth going around his torso and waist with cloth down his legs. He wears and old necklace with some old bands in his arm. He ties his long hair in a half bun with the rest of his hair down. He takes of his sandals and has to live life barefoot.

The three of them get ready to depart. Rama consoles his own mother and promises to come back safe. He then consoles his father who is in fear of Rama's life. Rama then says he will be protected by Lakshman and Sita. He asks for his blessings and leaves. The people of Ayodhya desperately try to stop Rama from leaving. Rama then tells the people to take heart and support the kingdom. At that point, Dasharath senses a danger lurking onto Rama and faints. The three then board a boat to take them a far forest away from the kingdom. Sita cries and gets consoles by Lakshman. Rama hangs his head in sorrow but stays strong and starts his long exile.

Life in the forest[edit]

The three arrive and set up home in a secluded forest. For 6 months Dasharath is in an ill state of health begging for Rama. He then dies. Bharat and Shatrugan hear the news and arrive at Ayodhya. Bharat then learns Kaikeyi has banished Rama and made Bharat king with upsets him. Bharat and Shatrugan then leave for the forest. They meet Rama and tell him the news. Rama collapses onto the grass and cries loudly. He blames himself. Bharat consoles the tearful Rama and begs him to come back. Rama however requests Bharat that he must rule the kingdom and Rama must be in exile for 14 years.

For the next 10 years, Rama and Sita live an idyllic life in the forest. They love in harmony and peace. They play and hug together with great amounts of live. They meet a vulture called Jatayu and make friends with him. After 10 years, the King of Lanka Ravan- a ferocious demon with immense power, learns Rama is staying in the forest. His sister Surpanakha has a thought Rama is handsome and wants to meet him. Ravan however calls him a coward as he got banished from his own kingdom. Surpankha vows to meet him.

Rama collects water and returns to the hut. At that moment a beautiful lady is famished by Rama's beautiful face and his long black beautiful hair. She asks for his marriage. Rama then tells her he is devoted to Sita and rejects the lady. The lady however turns into a demon and is actually Surpankha in disguise. The demoness hurts Rama and attacks Sita. Rama tries to defend her but both he and Sita get injured. Lakshman then saves Rama and Sita by cutting of Surpankha's nose. The demoness runs away while Rama and Sita step back.

The injured Surpankha returns to Lanka and Ravan meets her. Enraged with anger, he vows to kill Rama. Surpankha however convinces Ravan to torture Rama by abducting his wife and when he arrives to rescue her, Ravan can kill Rama.

The abduction of Sita[edit]

Ravan recruits Maricha to help with the abduction. Maricha transforms into a golden deer to attract Sita. Sita sees the deer and wants it so badly. She asks Rama to carefully collect it for her. Rama agrees and arms himself with a bow. He creeps up gently but the deer escapes. Lakshman warns Rama of the demons and Rama replies to protect Sita.

Rama tries to capture the deer but the deer magically slips past him. Rama realises it is a demon and kills it. Before dying Maricha warns Rama of his wife which greatly scares Rama. Maricha imitates Rama's voice and screams for help. Lakshman and Sita hear Rama's scream and get worried. Lakshman then goes to rescue his brother but casts an enchanted spell to protect Sita.

A sage emerges and asks Sita for alms. Sita then says the sage must wait as she is currently in a protected spell. The sage then taunts her into leaving the hut which she does. This breaks the spell and at that point the sage transforms into Ravan. He grabs Sita and takes her away.

Lakshman meets Rama in the forest. Rama desperately asks why he isn't with Sita. Rama then explains the story of the demon and he fears for Sita. They rush back to protect her. But it was too late, Ravan was taking Sita away in a flying chariot. Sita screams for help. Jatayu sees Sita and tries to rescue her but he gets attacked and falls.

Rama returns to the hut and sees Sita's flowers scattered on the ground. He cries for her and has very depressing emotions. Lakshman calms him down and leads the search for Sita where Rama will follow him. A deer guides the brothers to the right direction and they depart. They meet Jatayu who is lying in pain. Rama consoles him and tries to heal him. He thanks Jatayu for his efforts and cries when he dies.

At that point, Ravan returns to Lanka with Sita. He explains to everyone that she is imprisoned in the castle gardens. He touches her long hair and is happily enjoying her company away from Rama. Sita then longs for Rama and desperately wants him to rescue her.

The search for Sita[edit]

Rama and Lakshman looked all over the lands which took years. Until they stumble upon a giant mountain. They mountain however begins to move and throws Rama over. The mountain is actually a giant demon with. Lakshman shoots an arrow which injures the giant. The demon then hurts Rama pushing him to the ground. Rama uses his arrows and grabs on to the arm. He however gets stuck and can"t escape. He gets pulled closer to the mouth of the demon. Lakshman assess the danger Rama is in and injures the demon more. Rama then slashes the demon's eye which kills it. The demon collapses along with Rama. Rama falls while the demon gets destroyed. Rama gets up and sees the demon is actually a curse. The spirit instructs Rama to find Sugriv.

After many months of searching for Sugriv, they see a mountain with people on it. They prepare to visit but they are stopped by a flying monkey called Hanuman. He praises Rama and greets him. He then takes both of them to Sugriv- A vanara warrior. Rama meets Sugriv and he mentions about his wife. Sugriv then mentions he heard a cry for help calling Rama's name. He then mentions a scarf falls down and Rama begs to see it. He then recognises the scarf to be Sita's and cries for Sita's name. He produces tears onto it and collapses. He gets couraged by his brother and Sugriv warns him to stay strong. Sugriv has been exiled from his own kingdom for several days and makes a deal with Rama.

Rama then regains the kingdom and Sugriv collates an army to search for Sita. Rama distributes Sita's ornaments and says if they find Sita, they should present them and return with Sita. Rama gives his ring to Hanuman and tells him to fly to Lanka. After months of searching the rescue parties returned empty handed.

Hanuman reaches Lanka and tries to find Sita. He sees a crying woman getting berated by demons. The demons insult Rama and leave making Sita cry for her husband. Hanuman then meets Sita and gracefully meets her. He gains her trust by presenting the ring. He mentions Rama cries onto this ring often. Sita then hugs the ring and thinks about Rama. Hanuman offers to take her back to Rama but she declines. Her reasons hare that Ravan will still be at large. Rama must defeat Ravan in battle in order to save her. Hanuman understands and has hope Rama will fight Ravan and defeat him.

Hanuman then confronts Ravan and says he must return Sita to Rama or else he will die. Insulted by the fact Rama has the capability to defeat him, he threatens to kill Hanuman. However Ravan's brother Vibhishan advices Ravan not to so Ravan sets Hanuman's tail on fire. Hanuman however feels no pain and sets the city on fire. He returns to Rama. Ravan is then advised to return Sita in order to save the kingdom. Ravan is disgusted by this and banishes Vibhishan.

Hanuman returns to Rama and explains Rama must fight Ravan in order to save Sita. Rama understands this and journeys to Lanka. However he struggles to find a way across the sea. After weeks of struggle, Vibhishan meets Rama and joins him. He advices Rama to pray to the Sea God. Rama obeys and for 7 days he continuously prayed. On the 7th night, the Sea God blesses Rama by sending a wave making Rama's clothes and hair wet. He instructs Rama to build a bridge of stones and to walk across. The journey to Lanka ===

Rama then starts with the bridge and he along with his army place stones in the water. After weeks of building Rama prepares his army and they walk across the sea. Rama is now prepared to fight Ravan.

Rama's army arrive at the coast of Lanka and set up there. After a few days, Rama changes his strategy. Rama then explains that the past years have been hard for him and he is now prepared to fight Ravan in battle. But he has a plan to prevent a war with peace. He says if Sita is returned he will not fight and many lives will preserve. His army are in shock to see Rama in a cowardly state. Rama then explains he is no coward and wants peace. He asks a general called Angad to relay this message onto Ravan. When he does, Ravan laughs at Rama and expresses his desired for war. Rama then realises he must fight for Sita and his army are prepared to fight for Rama and Sita.

The battle[edit]

The war begins the next day. Many soldiers are injured at first stages. Ravan's army are using all available demons to wipe out Rama's army.

After a long day of fighting, Rama is sad to see the number of soldiers injured or dead. He then hosts a funeral for both armies. Lakshman then asks why Rama is cremating Ravan's men. Rama replies that everyone deserves a funeral. Lakshman shouts at him and says a warrior like him must not give in to emotion. Rama then explains that he is a fighter of peace and justice and that he will burn the dead. He will pray for a more peaceful world. His long black hair majestically blows in the wind.

The war continues for many, many days. Rama's army is now getting the advantage as many great demons are getting defeated. Ravan then sends his brother Kumbakharna- a giant demon to wreak havoc onto Rama. Rama's army tend to retreat which prompts Vibhishan to change tactics. He says Rama must come out from behind and fight in battle. Rama then confronts the giant Kumbakharna. He then goes into battle of him and kills him. Rama however gets lifted up and falls over the giant, wounding him. Rama gets up and clenches his arm. Lakshman helps Rama with his wounds and guides him back to camp.

Rama gets his wound healed and is in camp. Ravan's son Indrajeet then hatches a plan to devastate and kill Rama. He flies over in a chariot to Rama and calls him a coward. Rama runs out and looks at the chariot. He can see the demon along with Sita. Sita calls for help making Rama uneasy. Indrajeet then holds a sword against Sita making Rama beg to stop. Indrajeet stabs Sita which kills her. Rama collapses and cries. While Rama is down in tears, Indrajeet shoots an arrow at Rama but Lakshman steps in and takes the arrow. Indrajeet injures another soldier called Jambarvan who tried to protect Rama. Indrajeet warns Rama to host a funeral for his family before he kills Rama.

While in camp, Rama is informed that all the herbs have gone. This depresses Rama even more as he now faces the challenge of losing his brother. He goes away and cries. Vibhishan tells him to stay strong as his tears can make him lose the war. He explains Sita he saw was just an illusion and that Lakshman's wounds aren't that serious. Jambarvan awakes and tells Rama that there are herbs in the Himalayas that can heal them. Hanuman then tells Rama to rest and he collects the herbs. The herbs heal Lakshman and gives Rama joy.

Lakshman and a few soldiers head towards Lanka. He confronts Indrajeet who escapes. After killing many demons, Lakshman chases Indrajeet. He takes over his flying chariot and they engage in combat. Lakshman expertly disarms Indrajeet and kicks him over the chariot. Hanging on, Lakshman aims an arrow at Indrajeet. He however lets go and kills himself.

Ravan is in deep anger after the death of his son. He threatens to kill Sita as she is so devoted to Rama. But Ravan's father stops him and begs him to release Sita. Ravan then joins the battle.

The Battle between Rama and Ravan[edit]

Ravan enters the battlefield and is armed with a ferocious sword and strong armour. Rama faces Ravan with a sword but keeps his attire of old clothes and long hair. Rama calls out Ravan saying this battle will end it all and Rama will fight until Ravan is defeated. Rama must defeat Ravan in order to rescue Sita. Ravan replies that he will kill Rama and calls out to fight. Rama then arms himself to fight after 4 years of sorrow. Rama's companions (Lakshman, Sita...) spectate the fight.

Both warriors engage in battle. Their swords repeatedly collide and they both create offensive attacks. Ravan then uses the strength of the sword to push Rama into the air and make him fall on the ground. Rama gets hurt and screams in pain while his hair sways. Rama gets up and tries to stab Ravan but gets countered and attacked. Rama retains a defensive position and gets slammed to a wall. Ravan tries to slash Rama but he falls out the way. Ravan tries again but Rama jumps and cuts Ravan's sword. He then beheads Ravan. After an exhausting and hard fight, Rama's companions are glad Rama is safe. But Ravan's head begins to grow, scaring Rama, however Rama reacts quickly and cuts it with more force. Certain he has killed Ravan, he thinks about Sita.

But to his shock, Ravan's whole body increases in size and 10 heads form with 6 arms. Rama looks up in fear. Ravan then looks down at the fearful Rama and is threatening to kill him. Rama's long hair is vigorously blowing to the side. Along with Rama, Sita and everyone else fear for Rama's life. Ravan summons a bow with an explosive arrow and fires it at Rama. Rama tries to run away but the arrow explodes. Rama gets launched up into the air and wounded harshly. He lands on the ground with intense pain and screams. Sita looks at her wounded husband in fear. Ravan then summons a spear of fire and throws it at Rama, who is struggling to get up. A ring of fire encircles the wounded Rama. Rama prays and a chakra is presented which puts out the fire. Ravan then grabs Rama and crushes him. He then throws Rama onto a wall with great force. Rama then falls down landing very harshly and in great pain. Ravan laughs at the extremely wounded Rama who is struggling to live.

Rama lies on the ground covered in wounds, his long black hair flowing on his weak body and his clothes are damaged just like him. Sita and Lakshman look at the dying Rama in sorrow. Rama then realises Sita's freedom is a stake and crawls towards the distant chakra. Every movement he takes his pain increases. After a long time of painful movements, his wounded hand touches the chakra and begs for help. While Ravan is telling the dying Rama to give up, Rama is saved as the chakra grows bigger. With a last effort of excruciating pain, Rama throws the chakra at Ravan which kills him. Ravan's body crashes into the wall behind the wounded Rama. The chakra clears the air and Rama gets up.

Rama and Sita reunited[edit]

With the battle over, flowers grow on the battlefield signifying the end of evil and the sacrifice Rama has made. The heavily wounded Rama is relieved his fighting is over and addresses both armies. His army look at Rama and are in sorrow to see him in this state. Rama then begs the Lanks soldiers to take peace under Vibhishan's rule.

Rama then gets his many wounds heal. After a long period of healing, Rama sees Sita. Sita is very sad to see her husband nearly die on the battlefield and feels guilty. Rama then hugs Sita and consoles her. He is assuring Sita, his health is fine and that he was prepared to fight for her. Rama leaves with his wife and brother back to Ayodhya. Sita consoles Rama after a 4 year separation and a very painful fight. Rama returns to Ayodhya.

Voice cast[edit]

Original English version[edit]

Hindi Dub Version[edit]

English Dub Version (Prince of Light)[edit]

Production[edit]

In 1983, while working on "The Ramayana Relics" a documentary film about excavations by Dr. B. B. Lal near Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh (India) Yugo Sako came to know about the story of Ramayana. He liked the story of the Ramayana so much that he researched deeper into the topic and went on to read 10 versions of Ramayana in Japanese. After reading the Ramayana he wanted to adapt it into animation as he didn't think a live-action movie could capture the true essence of Ramayana,"Because Ram is God, I felt it was best to depict him in animation, rather than by an actor."Yugo Sako wanted to remain true to the original epic so he came to India and met with scholars, archaeologists, historians and started working out on the details, during this he met Ram Mohan and collaborated with him on the film. Krishna Shah got involved in the production later in 1993.[4][5]The story was simplified to a great extent in order to appeal to the international audience.[6]A new production studio Nippon Ramayana Film Co. was set up and the principal animation of the film began in 1990 with 450 artists on board.Indian animators guided their Japanese teammates with Indian customs and traditions depicted in the film like how dhotis are worn and how the children receive blessings from their elders..[4][6]

Controversies[edit]

The Indian Express misinterpreted Yugo Sako's "The Ramayana Relics" documentary and published that he was making a new Ramayana. Soon thereafter, a protest letter based on the misunderstanding from the Vishva Hindu Parishad was received by the Japanese Embassy in Delhi, which said that no foreigners could arbitrarily cinematize Ramayana because it was the great national heritage of India.[5] After the misconceptions were cleared, Yugo Sako proposed the idea of an animated Ramayana to the VHP and the government. He told them that animation was a serious art form in Japan and it would help bring the Ramayana to a wider global audience. The Government agreed initially, but later declined his proposal for a bi-nation collaboration, saying the Ramayana is a very sensitive subject and cannot be portrayed as a cartoon. Also, the fact that the movie was being made at the height of the Ayodhya dispute, added to the controversy and axed the prospects of producing it in India. With no choice and support left, the movie was ultimately produced in Japan with nearly 450 artists from both the nation contributing to its creation.[7]

Soundtrack[edit]

There are different songs for the Original English Version (sung in Sanskrit) and the Hindi Dub version (sung in Hindi), both are listed below. The lyrics are written by Vasant Dev (Sanskrit) and P.K. Mishra (Hindi).[8]

English Version Soundtrack (Sanskrit)[edit]

Song Artist(s)
Sita in Panchwati: the forest dwelling Kavita Krishnamurthy
Hanuman descends from the tree and

with folded hands sits before Sita and sings

Vinod Rathod
Song of the monkeys when constructing the bridge Chorus by many
Marching song of Ravana's soldiers Chorus by many

Hindi Version Soundtrack (Hindi)[edit]

Song Artist(s)
Sumiran Karle Mannwa Kavita Krishnamurthy
Sita in Panchavati: The Forest Dwelling Kavita Krishnamurthy
Janani Main Rama Doot Hanuman Udit Narayan
Shri Raghuvar Ki Vaanar Sena Chorus by many
Jai Lankeshwar Chorus by many
Ram Bolo Channi Singh

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The Story". Prince Of Light. Archived from the original on 20 April 2005. Retrieved 8 September 2015. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  2. ^ a b "Rama's epic adventure captured in Krishna Shah's new animated classic". India Post News Service. Archived from the original on 18 February 2012. Retrieved 15 October 2008. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  3. ^ "Ramayan on net". Ritesh's Blog. 28 May 2005. Retrieved 15 October 2008.
  4. ^ a b "Yugo Sako's Ramayan Odyssey". Beliefnet. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
  5. ^ a b "Prince of Light: Production". 8 June 2002. Archived from the original on 9 June 2002. Retrieved 28 December 2015. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  6. ^ a b "Ram Mohan - Biography, Works, Interview, etc. at Design in India". designinindia.net. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 28 December 2015. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  7. ^ "VIDEO REVIEWS - Magazine Web Edition > June 1993 - Publications - Hinduism Today Magazine". www.hinduismtoday.com. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
  8. ^ "Composers for Ramayana: The Legend of Prince Rama". lgg3agenda.blogspot.in. Retrieved 28 December 2015.

External links[edit]