By Raju Vernekar
Mumbai, Feb 14:
While circus shows have become limited in India with Jokers and Jugglers struggling for survival, an exhibition of photographs by Nitin Sonawane organized in Mumbai unfolds many daredevils acrobats reviving the memories of circus shows.
The exhibition titled “Rambo Circus: The Show Must Go On”, organized at the Photographic Society of India in South Mumbai unravels various aspects including challenging work and the arduous practice which artists go through every day to give the best performance.
Sonawane, who has covered many circus shows and who has been associated with “Rambo Circus’ for the last many years said that “ In this exhibition, I have tried to show the life of the artists, their living conditions, their exercise and practice and the hard work they put in to present their art. I have tried to uncover the truth behind the colourful clothes and happy faces of these artists. To stay at the top of their game, the artists wake up at 5 every morning and practice till the afternoon”.
“These artists migrate from one state to another without a break, often not seeing their families for months. No matter how sick the artist is, she/he will enter the circus ring and perform without break. They treat their circus brethren as their own and often choose their life partners and get married in the circus itself. Their children also grow up in the circus and often, follow their parent’s footsteps”. The exhibition will be on till March 03.
The breathtaking acts like aerials, aerial hoops, ladder balance, roller squatting quick change, steel walking, sword balancing, swallowing, and juggling are an integral part of the circus. But a ban on the use of children and animals has put a lot of restrictions on circus shows.
Yet the circus remains an attractive entertainment and the shows are being organized by enthusiastic organizers across the country and abroad. Sujit Dilip, son of P.T. Dilip, the founder of “Rambo Circus”, dreams to set up a circus village and circus schools so that children can get circus lessons. Besides, the Indian circus should reach and participate in the International Circus Festival and hoist the flag of India, Sujit feels. The Rambo Circus has the “Biggest Movable Tent in India” with a diameter of 235 feet and it is air-conditioned. Sujit and his brother Sumit, try something new every time.
Society must acknowledge the devotion of circus artists and their difficult and dangerous lifestyles. The Government too should relax restrictions since, besides zoos, the only circus is the medium that exposes people to the movements of wild animals.