First International Clown Festival in Mumbai from tomorrow

"There is a subtle difference between a joker and a clown. While the former makes you laugh, the latter makes you happy. It is high time that people understood this," D'souza told PTI.

"It is unfortunate and derogatory to refer clowns as jokers," he said adding clowning is a skilled profession. Clowning involves mime, pantomime, music, physical comedy, magic, balloon sculpting, juggling, unicycling, acrobatics and non-verbal entertainment, D'souza explained.

"Internationally, it has been accepted as a very talented, stylish and skilled profession. Unfortunately, only uneducated and poor in India get into circuses, of which clowning is a part," he said. However, now it is not just limited to only circuses where it all began. Today, it has grown into its own, he said.

Also, kids are very receptive when anything is taught to them through clowning, D'souza said, adding, "Our target audience is children in the age group 7 to 14 years." The maiden clown festival has been being organised by Mad Hatters, the family entertainment division of Light House Entertainment (I) Pvt Ltd, helmed by D'souza.

An alumnus of St Xavier's College, D'souza has been in the clowning business for last two decades and is known as 'Flubber, the Clown'. He is also a member of bodies like World Clown Association, International Jugglers Association and Indian Society of Magicians.

Elaborating on the objective of the ten-day festival to be held at St Andrews Auditorium in Mumbai, D'souza said, "We want to make people aware that clowning is serious business and has immense job potential too."

"We are also conducting free of cost education workshops. Anyone is free to walk in, see and learn," he said. In America, Canada, and Europe clowning is very popular and many take to it even as a side profession, he said.

Besides well-choreographed theatre shows, for which at least ten international clowns have been roped in, there would be mall appearances, education and outreach programmes, he said adding the festival would conclude on November 14 with a show at Shivaji Park in central Mumbai.

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