In a unique and innovative protest, commuters in Miyapur on Tuesday evening came face-to-face with the 'God of death', Yama Dharmaraja, who waded through rush-hour Hyderabad traffic along with the Hindu God Chitragupta.
The awareness campaign titled 'Buckle up Hyderabad' was organised by the Rotary Club of Miyapur, in coordination with the city's Traffic Police.
The campaign, where Yama Dharmaraja was also accompanied by two asuras, grabbed the attention of several commuters, as they stopped to watch the commotion, and also clicked selfies with the 'Gods'.
Speaking to TNM, rotarian Ravindra Varma said, "We were thinking of an innovative idea to curb traffic violations which were on the rise in the city. We wanted to deter people from breaking traffic rules, and we looked at various models, from holding placards to giving flowers."
However, as the members of the Club wanted to come up with a more novel idea, they continued to discuss the issue, and came up with the idea of invoking the God of death himself.
The actors who donned the roles, also enacted a short skit with each driver and rider.
Chitragupta (the God tasked with deciding if a person should go to heaven or hell, based on their actions on Earth) and Yama rounded up the person not wearing a helmet or seat belt, and the latter would say, 'Chitragupta! What is this person's fault?', to which Chitragupta responded and said that he was not following the rules of road safety.
"After this, the duo would warn the commuter to correct their ways now, before it’s too late," Ravindra explains.
To make the costumes look authentic, the Rotary Club of Miyapur approached the personal make-up man of late actor-politician NT Rama Rao himself.
"Balu, the make-up man, was responsible for NTR's Krishna avatar. We met him and he identified the characters and oversaw the makeover. The Traffic Police also greatly cooperated with us," Ravindra said.
When asked about the response, Ravindra said, "It was great. Everyone was stopping and asking what had happened. There was a lot of curiosity. The people who were rounded up also promised to change their ways, and the police also appreciated them."
According to rough estimates, more than 2,000 selfies were taken during a span of three hours.
"The idea is to create awareness in an innovative way. People should get inspired and motivated and this should not end in a single day. It should spread to more parts of the city as well," Ravindra says.