Circus comes calling to Delhi

Circus comes calling to Delhi

In this age of shrinking ground space in cities, restrictions on use of animals and children below 14 and numerous computer and mobile applications which ensure entertainment at the tips of your fingers, entertaining people through traditional circus is a very tough task!

The Great Bombay Circus, which boasts one of the oldest circus troups in India, has been enthralling audiences across the country since 1920. It is back in the city after a gap of five years, with its spectacular and daring acrobatic acts, sizzling performance by glamorous artistes and ear-splitting laughter by talented clowns. Besides Indians, the troupe has expanded to include artistes from Nepal, Manipur, Chennai, China, Mongolia and Africa.

Even with foreign artistes and breathtaking acts, it is not easy to draw people towards a circus show which has lost its sheen over decades courtesy advancement in technology. The troupe travels from one city to another depending up the season, just as this time is perfect to draw Delhiites. 

Dilip Nath Nair, co-owner of Great Bombay Circus, says, “The cost of running a circus is getting higher. We don’t get ground easily, not just here but in many places of the country. People don’t have much time these days. It is a holiday driven business.”

This troupe was started by his grandfather and inspite of a degree in law, he chose to take forward his legacy. According to Dilip, it is tough to draw the audiences but calculated planning and adopting new ways works in this business.

“This time is perfect for Delhi. There are no exams, it is not the wedding season and weather is also moderate. But If I pitch a tent in this season in Kolkata, nobody will come. The season for Kolkata is December. So, all these things have to be kept in mind,” Dilip shares with Metrolife.

“Another challenge is to keep the audience engaged. It has to be like a movie well-edited. So it needs to have elements of glamour, thrilling and comic acts. The acts are aligned in such a way that there is not a moment of boredom,” he adds.

During the two-hour show, the troupe presents dazzling Chinese roller act, vertical swinging acrobats, elephant cricket, high-wheel cycle skipping act and pocket cycle act, parrot show, dog show, gymnastics and many other acts along with live music and clown acts thrown in between.

The cycle act performed by Subhash deserves special mention as the cycle is hardly six inches and could easily pass off as a mere toy. However, when he pulls it out of his pocket and rides with his wife Sheela and another artist Anmol holding a chocolate, the audience is hooked in disbelief.

An elephant playing cricket was a huge hit among the children and elders alike. People take cover and try to protect the young ones from the aggressive batting prowess of the elephant as his all shots are lofted ones.

With increasing restrictions on the use of animals in circus, the troupe has reduced the animal acts – like those involving lions, tigers, bears. “We deliberately have less animal acts now. People talk of animal rights. I always knew it. But they are our bread and butter. Now, as a policy we deliberately keep lesser animals. Circus is more of a sporting event,” says Dilip.

The circus will run everyday till October 30, near Netaji Subhash Place. Timings: 1 pm, 4 pm and 7 pm. Tickets range from Rs 50 to 300.

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