Four years ago when Sujit Dilip, owner of the city-based Rambo Circus, conceptualised the Circus Festival, he didn’t get any formal entries. Relying only on word-of-mouth publicity, he managed to gather participants from six countries. This year, however, Dilip has got nearly 130 entries from circus artistes from across the world. But the entries haven’t translated into participation, as only six countries are participating in the festival.
“Many artistes from countries like Argentina, the US, United Kingdom and Australia backed out because they were required to come here on employment visa. Why would they take an employment visa when they only wanted to participate in the festival,” asks Dilip.
Those who will be participating in the festival include artistes from Ethiopia, Columbia, Uzbekistan, Ukraine, Nepal and Azerbaijan. They have entered into an employment contract with Rambo Circus and will be in the country for a month.
The Circus Festival is organised every year in Mumbai. This year, the festival will take place from November 1 to 20. “The concept is inspired by the famous Monte Carlo International Circus Festival. For the last several years, I have been trying hard to send my artistes there (Monte Carlo) but because of the stringent rules and regulations involved, I have failed to do so. Hence, I thought why not launch a similar festival right here in India,” says Dilip.
On new attractions of the fourth edition of the Circus Festival, Dilip says there will be a panel of judges to judge the participants. The panel includes Sanjana Kapoor of Prithvi Theatre, Bruno Loyal (Pacific Islands) and Nikolai Kozbov (director of the Kozbov Circus). “Besides, we will also introduce a voting system for the audience. It will enable them to vote for their favourite participant at the festival,” says Dilip.
According to Dilip, a circus festival offers a platform to the artistes for a healthy art and culture exchange. To give international exposure to his artistes, Dilip will be applying for registration of six clowns of Rambo Circus at the International Clown Organisation that will enable them to participate in circuses as well as get trained in clown colleges.
Having attended the Monte Carlo International Circus Festival, Dilip laments that all the rules in India are meant to end circus itself. “When we go there, we see animals like rhinos, white tigers, giraffe, hippopotamus and so on are not only trained for circuses but are also taken care of in a world-class structure,” he rues.