INDIA. Mumbai: 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 daredevil 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 that artists go through daily 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, “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 these artists’ colourful clothes and happy faces. To stay at the top of their game, the artists wake up at five 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 a break. They treat their circus brethren as their own and often choose their life partners and get married in the circus itself. Their children grow up in the circus as well, and they frequently follow in their parent’s footsteps.” The exhibition will be on until March 3.
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 attractive, 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 of setting up a circus village and circus schools so that children can get circus lessons. Sujit believes that the Indian circus should travel to and participate in the International Circus Festival and hoist the Indian flag. The Rambo Circus has the “Biggest Movable Tent in India” diameter of 235 feet and is air-conditioned. Sujit and his brother Sumit try something new every time.
Society must acknowledge the devotion of circus artists and their complex and dangerous lifestyles. The government, too, should relax restrictions since, besides zoos, the circus is the only medium that exposes people to the movements of wild animals.
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