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Hunar Haat is breathing Oxygen into the once popular ‘Circus’; Artistes get a Unique Platform to perform across the country

New Delhi, Apr 25, (Fast Mail News):-- Everyone knows that COVID-19 Pandemic has affected the economies across the world. What many don’t know is, it has also affected the lives of many performing artistes across the world. The word ‘performing artistes’ brings images of singers, dancers, theatre artists, stand-up comedians to our minds. But, how many of us ever think of a circus artiste?


The reason for this, especially in India, is that the circus as an art form has gone so far or even lost from many of our lives.  There could be many reasons why Circus has lost its popularity but Ministry of Minority Affairs has become one of the prominent reasons why the forgotten art is back and in full swing. Hunar Haat, an initiative of the Ministry of Minority Affairs, is being held in Mumbai at MMRDA Ground, BKC, from 16th April to 27th April 2022, where around 35 circus artistes are performing daily.


Press Information Bureau, Mumbai got an opportunity to interact with a few of the circus artistes performing at the Hunar Haat. This piece is a tribute to the performing art which kept us excited and made us happy in our childhood and also a shout-out to every artist out there who is working hard to make the audience happy!


As its tagline goes, ‘Craft, Cusine and Culture’, the 12-day fair is a one-stop shop for credible and consummate 'Swadeshi' products. Besides supporting and encouraging 1000s of artisans across the country, Hunar Haat has also provided a platform for 100s of performing artists from singers, dancers, comedians as well as circus artistes who are entertaining the visitors during the fair.


“It’s after a long time ‘Circus’ has got its reputation back in the country,” said the owner of the Rambo Circus Troupe, Shri P T Dileep. The troupe has been performing at various Hunar Haats being organized across the country. He was reminiscing about the Lt. Governor of Chandigarh honoring the artistes, a few days back in Chandigarh when the city hosted the Hunar Haat. “We were awarded with a memento and a cash prize of Rs. 11,000/-. Receiving this one of our senior artistes, Biju Nair, who performs the clown, cried out of happiness,” he said.


“It was not the money. I am more than 50 years and this was the first time ever in my life that I received such an honour and that too from such a distinguished person,” Biju Nair said proudly.


Recalling the evergreen period of circus, Raajeev Birdea, the Manager of the Rambo Circus Troupe said, “There was a time when people used to come three days in advance. They used to come with their food packed, and would wait for days to watch a one-hour circus show.” He painfully recalled how the art has lost its charm over years.  “In 1998 there were 317 groups in the country; only 6 are left today and only one in Maharashtra – ours.”


 He mentioned how with changing time, the circus artistes don’t get a proper space because of extremely high rents in big cities. He mentioned how Hunar Haat which is located at the centre of the city is providing them space as well as remuneration to perform and also encouragement by providing them audience.


He also shared how Pandemic has affected the lives of many performing artistes. “We had no clue about what to do next. It was then that we got a call from the Ministry of Minority Affairs, asking us if we can perform for the Hunar Haat. The call came like oxygen during the post-Pandemic times,” he added thanking the Government and the Ministry profusely for the initiative.


Since 2021, the troupe has been continuously associated with Hunar Haat and has been travelling to several destinations of the Haat, performing in several states. “Earlier we used to get chance to perform only within the state but now with the help of the Government we are performing across the country,” he noted thankfully.


The circus artistes performing at the Huanr Haat represent a mini-India as they come from almost all states of the country: North-Eastern states, all states in North India, Maharashtra, Kerala and West Bengal. The age range of artists at the Rambo Circus is between 18 and 35 years, which include six women artistes. The women performers, one of whom is a single mother, claimed that they practise two to three hours a day in order to perform the hair-raising gymnastics during the show. 


He mentioned that circus troupe has been performing at various Hunar Haats since 2021 and has been busy since then. The Rambo circus which is centered in Maharashtra, as a practice, brings artistes on rotation basis just to ensure no member of the troupe misses the opportunity and platform provided by the Ministry across the country.


“Circus is like taking the village with you. There are around 300 people associated with the troupe and you have to take care of each and every member like that of the family,” Birdea shared.


The performers expressed their thankfulness to the Government and the Ministry for such a platform and also said the move has motivated them and has boosted their confidence.

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