Covid has pushed all modes of entertainment online, and the circus is the latest to leave the live stage and perform for the handheld screen. On Friday the 19-year-old Rambo circus, based in Airoli, Mumbai, will become the first in India to go online with an one hour show that will be streamed on Bookmyshow platform. Just like the circus of the past, it will have all the acts — trapeze artistes, jugglers, jokers — but instead of being spontaneous it will be rehearsed, recorded and edited for a short one-hour format.
The artistes are not complaining. Biju Pushkaran, 51, a clown with the circus since its inception, said that things became bad for them during the lockdown. “Many artistes were planning to return to their hometowns and villages but then about two months ago we got this proposal from Laqshya Live Experiences, an event management firm, and Production Crew Entertainment Pvt Ltd. It was godsend. We were so happy to have got a chance to work.”
Usually, a circus takes three to four days to set up — erecting the tent and arena with labour of around 100 people. “For this online project, just 24 of us erected the tent and set up the arena in a day’s time. Such was our enthusiasm,” said Pushkaran. The artistes were trained for the show for 15 days and the shooting finished in another 2-3 days. “I missed the audience and its applause and cheering. But the director asked me to visualise the audience and it helped,” said Pushkaran.
Sujit Dilip, founder of Rambo circus, said that it was a challenge to fit a 2.5-hour-long circus performance into one hour.
Covid has made it difficult for circuses and street performances to survive. A survey by Circostrada Network in Europe found that 94% events have been cancelled and on average per performance 14 jobs are affected. Cirque du Soleil group in Canada filed for bankruptcy protection in July.
But the show must go on, said Dinesh Shetty, founder, Production Crew Entertainment Pvt Ltd. “We are excited to take the age-old circus experience online,” he said.

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