So you thought what’s in a circus? You are sophisticated, well-earning person, and often thought why should you go and watch a set of people perform some acts which you are sure will not entertain you at all, and certainly not enough to keep you riveted. Well, to be honest, I used to think that too, until last evening, when my perspective changed, as I sat with my 12yr old, and watched mesmerized a set of most awesome acts in a derelict tent, with hundreds of others.
As an entertainment form, circus of these days face stiff competition from technology inspired media. Television, movies, internet and mobile gaming had taken the top spots of entertainment industry, leaving theaters and circus much alone in the bottom rungs of the industry. Circus, especially, means a huge constant expenditure against a bleak future. And it these art forms have survived. I guess that this is because one can almost replicate anything in digital media, but the sheer joy and awe of a human performance is a little difficult to replicate, and that is perhaps the most important reason for the survival of these modes of entertainment.
So last Sunday, in November 2013, we stepped into the tents of Great Bombay Circus performing at Dwarka Sector 11, in Delhi, with not much anticipation and even less expectations, only to be proven wrong.
The artists cajoled and coaxed out admiration out of us, pulled us out of our complacency, and made us grip our seat edges with trepidations and awe. Some of the acts took me back in time, to my childhood days, as I sat experiencing a one of a kind thrill in simple acts which my jaded outlook had forgotten to feel.
As I came out of the tent after the performance, I stand bowed to the human body and soul that can perform such wonderful acts with such precision, and still live in the ignominy of being just a ‘circus artist’ and not a stage or on-screen performer. Does a performance becomes less magical because its performed street side, inside an old tent, and not in plush music halls where audience comes dressed in their best formals? No, I don’t think so. Talent is talent, never mind where it is showcased, and yesterday I was glad to see some of it.
So if you are still with me here, and in Delhi this winter, grab a piece of this magic, and let the child in you feel the wonder again.
For more photos, check Dipto Basu Photography