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The God-King Rama and his devoted young wife, Sita, are exiled by political intrigue but determined to prove Rama's right to his ancestral throne. In the course of their long wanderings through the forests and kingdoms of ancient India, they meet many friends and allies, including an old friend of Japanese animation, the Monkey God Hanuman, who was the original template for Monkey King Sun Wu-Kong, hero of Journey to the West. But the beautiful Sita also attracts unwelcome attention from the Demon King Ravana, who kidnaps her and holds her captive in his island fortress. Rama and their friends set out to rescue her and destroy Ravana; before he can recover his throne he must recover his bride. Shapeshifting vampires, flying fortresses, and epic battles provide plenty of action and interest in a film as stuffed with over-the-top weaponry, weird martial arts, and romance as any fantasy anime.
The story, one of the great religious texts of Hinduism, is credited to a half-mythical robber-poet who is said to have given it its present form around 300 b.c. Like the Greek poet Homer, unwitting originator of Ulysses 31, Valmiki could scarcely have suspected where his tale would end up. This first Indian-Japanese coproduction took years of heroic effort on the part of Mohan and Japanese producer Yugo Sako. Licenses from the Hindu religious authorities were required before work on the animation could go ahead in India, and local artists and animators were trained to work to Japanese standards and methods. Every aspect of the story was carefully constructed to avoid any offense to Hindu religious sensibilities. The end result did not score the hoped-for success either in India or Japan or among film-fan Hindi communities overseas. Less faithful adherence to Hindu myth can be found in Rg Veda.