If you were a kid who grew up in Mumbai of the 1980s or ’90s, chances are the first circus you ever visited was the majestic Rambo Circus. This writer recalls a vivid memory of entering the travelling circus’ enormous tent that bustled with rainbow colours, blinding lights, happy clowns and shrewd ringmasters. With daring trapeze acts, mesmerising aerial dancers, captivating jugglers and energetic acrobatic performers, the circus wasn’t just an entertainment entity, it was a whole new world. And while as kids we were naive to believe that nothing could bring the circus down, an invisible virus has proved otherwise.’
With no shows since March, the 29-year-old circus troupe that once traversed through the country has been stuck at its Airoli base — struggling to make ends meet. While the residents of Navi Mumbai and NGOs helped, the time has been anything but easy. But staying true to its ethos that states, ‘The show must go on,’ the circus is now trying to bounce back with its first-ever digital show, Life is a circus, an ode to the greatest showmanship.
Put together by two city-based enterprises, Laqshya Live Experiences and Production Crew, the show is a complete package that weaves the rich legacy of Rambo Circus and daring acts together. To be hosted by TV anchor Vipul Roy, the show will showcase the achievements, struggles and the never-give-up spirit of the artistes. The grand finale will culminate into a carnival act that pays tribute to COVID Warriors.
Saurabh Khurana, senior vice president (national) Laqshya Live Experiences, said, “While those who grew up in the ’80s and ’90s will have nostalgia attached to the Rambo Circus, our goal is to also tap into a new audience, the kids of today who have never witnessed a circus. We will take them behind the scenes through their screens at home to watch how the artists survive.”
The acts were shot at a mid-size tent that was set up at their Airoli base. “We could have shot in a studio, but for the artistes, their tents are their home turf.”
After three weeks of rigorous training where the artistes would wake up at 4 am to practice, the show was shot in three days. Sujit Dilip, owner, Rambo Circus, said, “When the pandemic struck, many artistes returned to their villages and did menial jobs, without much luck. This digital show is a ray of hope for them. If there is one thing that the circus teaches you, it is to survive. Rain, storms, curfews, come what may, we’ve fought every adversity and we will continue to. We believe in upgrading with changing times — from avoiding the use of animals for live shows to going digital, we’ve done it all. Our circus is a travelling village where even retired animals are cared for till their last breath. So how could we let our artistes starve?”
Saurabh Khurana and Sujit Dilip
Principal clown Biju Nair who has been with the circus for 21 years says, “When I first wanted to be a clown, many circuses rejected me telling me I was too dark to be one. I got my first big break here. This is not just my workplace, it is my home. From teaching me to apply makeup, to saving me from the brink of death after an ailment, this circus has made me who I am. Till the day I die, I will work as a clown only here.”
As he signs off, he appeals, “The circus has made generations laugh. Today we need you to make us smile. Watch the show. You won’t be disappointed.”
On September 25, 6 pm
Cost Rs 199
Log on to www.bookmyshow.com
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