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Sampoorna Ramayana (1), 1961

Sampoorna Ramayana (The Complete Ramayana), 1961, Museum Series

showcard, c. 1961, 50 X 60 cm (19.6 X 23.6 inches)
tinted gelatin silver print, poster paint, and letterpress text on paper mounted on board

set of 2 showcards (what is a showcard?)

Deepali Dewan, ed. Bollywood Cinema ShowcardsIndian Film Art from the 1950s to the 1980sShowcards from The Hartwick Collection. Toronto: Royal Ontario Museum Press, 2011, p. 69, Cat. no. 13.

Sampoorna Ramayana is an adaptation of one of the great cultural and religious epics of India.  The original Sanskrit text, the Ramayana, is a poem of nearly 50 000 lines of verse.  The epic is attributed to a single poet, the Hindu sage Valmiki.  The Ramayana explores human values and the concept of Dharma through the story of Rama, an incarnation of the god Vishnu and the epitome of virtue, and his wife Sita who is portrayed throughout the epic as the epitome of female purity.

"Even though films tended towards less traditional subject matter in the 1960s, mythological films remained popular because of their special effects and familiarity with audiences. The Ramayana is a Hindu epic poem that recounts the battle between good and evil. [Cat. no. 13] features scenes reminiscent of book illustrations compartmentalized within a diamond pattern.  This format is contrasted with the female character of Sita, the only figure based on a photograph, who gazes toward the hand-drawings, suggesting a bridge between classic literature and the new medium of film.

The film Sampoorna Ramayana (1961) was produced by Wadia Brothers and Basant Pictures, and directed by Babubhai Mistri.  Music by Vasant Desai.  Colour, Hindi, starring Mahipal and Anita Guha."

--Additional text by Dr. Deepali Dewan and Alexandra McCarter, based on Deepali Dewan, ed. Bollywood Cinema Showcards: Indian Film Art from the 1950s to the 1980s. Showcards from The Hartwick Collection. Toronto: Royal Ontario Museum Press, 2011. Copyright of and reproduced here with the generous permission of the Royal Ontario Museum.

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