Arvind Trivedi (1938-2021): The Ravana Who Wanted To Be Kevat

by Swarajya Staff - Oct 6, 2021 04:10 PM +05:30 IST
Arvind Trivedi (1938-2021): The Ravana Who Wanted To Be Kevat Arvind Trivedi
  • Arvind Trivedi, widely known as the Ravana in Ramanand Sagar's 'Ramayana', passed away Tuesday night in Mumbai.

Veteran actor Arvind Trivedi, who played Ravana in Ramanand Sagar's Ramayan, passed away yesterday at the age of 82, in Mumbai. Trivedi was suffering from age-related illnesses. He died of a heart-attack on Tuesday night. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the cast of Ramayan mourned the late actor and paid their tributes.

Trivedi’s nephew Kaushaubh Trivedi confirmed the actor’s death and informed “Arvind uncle was not keeping well and his health further deteriorated in the last couple of years. He passed away on Tuesday night around 9.30 pm after suffering a heart attack. He was 82 years old. He passed away peacefully at his home in Kandivali (Mumbai), surrounded by his family.”

A life in acting

Trivedi was born on 8 November 1938 in Indore, now in Madhya Pradesh. He spent his early childhood in the city and the later years in Gujarat, and cleared intermediate from Bhavan’s College, Mumbai.

In real life, Arvind was an ardent devotee of Shri Rama. As a child, he loved watching the Ramlila. His elder brother, Upendra Trivedi, was a well-known actor of Gujarati films.

Like his elder brother, Arvind Trivedi also decided to become an actor. In his early days, he used to act in the local Ramlila and played multiple roles across the years.

He worked as a theatre artist for a considerable duration and earned critical acclaim. After this, he got his break in Gujarati films. In his career spanning over 40 years, he acted in close to 300 Gujarati and Hindi films.

Apart from Ramayan, he worked in many TV serials and films like Vikram Aur Betal, Brahmarishi Vishwamitra, Trimurti, Aaj Ki Taza Khabar, Paraya Dhan, Desh Re Joya Dada Pradesh Joya, Dholi, etc.

Arvind, during his illustrious acting career, won seven awards from Government of Gujarat for best acting in Gujarati feature films.

From screen to politics

It was the fame of the Ravana character that earned him a Lok Sabha ticket from the Sabarkantha constituency in Gujarat, from the BJP. Trivedi won and served as the Member of Parliament from 1991 to 1996.

In 2002, Trivedi was appointed the acting chairman of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), after Vijay Anand had put his papers over the issue of legalisation of soft pornography, which was rejected by the then Union Government. He said “he wanted to put a full stop to what he (Anand) stood for...Public entertainment has to be healthy and that simply wasn’t.”

The ‘Ravana’ who wanted to be “Ram-bhakta Kevat”

It was in 1985-86, that Trivedi came to know that director Ramanand Sagar was making the Ramayan series. Trivedi approached him and expressed his desire to be a part of the project. When Sagar asked him which character he would like to play, Trivedi came up with the name of Kevat after much consideration.

In the Ramayana, Kevat was an ardent devotee of Shri Rama and that is how Trivedi saw himself too. In the epic, Kevat helps Shri Rama and Sita to cross the Ganga and this episode holds much emotional value for devotees . Trivedi was thus convinced to play Kevat on screen.

Ramanand Sagar invited Trivedi to the set. Upon arriving, Trivedi saw that about 300 actors were being auditioned for the role of Ravana. A confused Trivedi was asked to read the script for Ravana's role, which he hesitatingly did.

Watching him speak Ravana's lines, Sagar is said to have remarked. "That's all, I got my Lankesh. This is my Ravana." When Trivedi asked Sagar, the latter said, "I want my Ravana who has not only power, but also devotion. If he is a scholar, then he should have a bright face. He should be proud, and your walk alone has made me believe that you're the right fit for the character."

'Ravana's' piety

In March 2020, when Ramanand Sagar’s Ramayan was telecast once again on Doordarshan in the wake of the nationwide lockdown, a video of Trivedi went viral for all the right reasons. In it, Trivedi could be seen getting emotional while watching the scene in which his character abducted Devi Sita.

According to reports, the veteran actor was cremated at Dahanukar Wadi cremation ground in Kandivali area, Mumbai, early on Wednesday morning.

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