Document Type : Research Article
Religion and mythology has been ubiquitous to the development of cultural ideas and their representations in various mediums.The idea of god as a personification of abstract values has fascinated the creative mind for generations. In India, the popular pantheon of Hindu gods and goddesseshas been worshippedforestablishing and upholding these positive valuesby subduing the negative characters in various narratives.Within this broad spectrum is the dominant character of Ravana who has varied literary descriptions and visual representations. This paper while investigating into the dichotomy that exists between the neutral literary portrayal of Ravana and his preferred negative visual depictions, will elaborate on the various cultural notions that are signifiedwith him in the context of contemporary India.
It is a qualitative enquiry for which Indian print advertisements published in the last two decades depicting Ravana have been analysed for their content and form.Formal analysis reveals that the visual representation of Ravana can be broadly categorized as realistic, illustrated or symbolic, wherein the realistic is the least preferred style. Though maximum advertisers have preferred an illustrated version, a growing trend towards its symbolic representation can be seen in the end of the current decade. Content analysis unveils that safety while travelling and unhealthy eating or hunger in India is two prominent evilsthat have been visually associated with Ravana. Maximumreference to Ravana in advertising is during the festival of Dussehra but there are a few brands which use his iconography for promotion at any time of the year.