The circus industry has been a part of India’s history since the late 18th century. At present, the circus industry in India has come to the verge of extinction due to lack of adequate support from the state during periods of crises, legislative reforms such as the ban on the use of animals, restriction of working employees’ age (restricting child artists to perform). Mr. Rajiv Chatterjee, a performer in the circus for over three decades, in this video, talks about the struggles that the community faces, as they try to preserve this dying expressive art.
The pandemic and the lockdown made things worse for the circus community, rendering many artists jobless. With the regular collapse of circuses and a decline in popularity, the industry draws fewer people willing to go through the strenuous training routine. Many artists are housed in makeshift houses with no running water or electricity, and some stay separately from their families and children. On the other hand, artists are satisfied to perform for their small audiences. They are proud to preserve the tradition of ancient art. In this video, Mr. Rajiv Chatterjee, an artist in the circus for over three decades, talks about the community’s struggles as they try to preserve this dying expressive art.
‘Life is a circus’ gets an added level of surrealism while looking from the lens of life ‘in’ circus. This amazing experience is filled with a wide spectrum of emotions, carried out via unexpected thrilling acts but there is a larger emotional backdrop in these acts that often gets looked over. For over a century, circus has not only become a refuge but a platform to showcase the talent of these unique lost souls. In this video essay we would explore the stories of two such lives of two artists: Manoj and Prashant Sigh Jatt, from Rambo Circus.