These days Indian circus tradition has perhaps become a little too isolated from the international circus scene, it has nonetheless long been a significant part of India’s popular entertainment culture.
After the end of the British Raj and the independence of India in 1947, several new circuses have appeared on the scene, joining some of the ancient troupes that are still active today. Here we give good news about this source of entertainment performing in Gurgaon.
After a long wait of decades together, the world renowned Apollo Circus has been showcasing and entertaining people of Gurgaon these days at the Goshala Maidan near bus stand.
At Gemini Circus
The Gemini Circus was created in 1951, in Billimoria, a town in the State of Gujarat (India’s westernmost region, south of Pakistan), by circus entrepreneur Moorkoth Vangakandy Shankaran (known as Gemini Shankarettan), a native of Kerala.
Over 150 African, Mongolian, Australian, China and Nepali artists are there to enthral the audience at during daily shows.
Shankaran worked for a time with Kallan Gopalan’s Great Rayman Circus, and then created his own Gemini Circus, in association with another entrepreneur, K. Sahadevan. The circus opened its doors on August 15, 1951. In 1964, Shankaran led the first Indian circus delegation to an International Circus Festival held in the USSR. The Indian company performed in Moscow, Sochi, and Yalta.
Later Shankaran expanded his business empire to become a partner in other circus ventures: Apollo Circus, Vahini Circus, and the Jumbo Circus, which he started in 1977.
The Gemini Circus has built ties with the Indian film industry, which has used it as a background for popular movies such as Raj Kapoor ‘s Mera Naam Joker, Mithun Chakraborty’s Shikari, and Kamala Hassan’s Apoorva Sahodarangal.
They also have planned several theme-based schemes for schools and other groups. The attraction of the circus is performances of African and Mongolian Artists, Australian Parrot Show and Dog Show.
Other Circuses Worth Mentioning
The Rayman circus was originally formed in the year 1924 and has numerous awards in kitty including prestigious president’s citation. According to the performers here, such kind of group circus has been performed in the city after many years.
The Great Rayman Circus is one of the oldest circus companies in India, founded by Kallan Gopalan, a disciple of Keeleri Kunhikannan, and one of the great Indian showmen of that period.
In times, Kallan Gopalan built a circus empire that comprised the National Circus and the Bharat Circus among others. The Amar Circus, which Gopalan created in the 1960s, is still active to this day, and was recently under the management of K. P. Hemraj.
Great Royal Circus
One of the oldest circus troupes in India, the Great Royal Circus dates its origins to 1909, when it was known as Madhuskar’s Circus; in the 1970’s, when it was taken over by N. R. Walawalker, it became the Great Royal Circus. Narayan Rao Walawalker, an animal trainer, made it one of the very few Indian Circuses that have toured internationally—traveling in Africa, the Middle East, and Southern Asia.
Great Bombay Circus
Baburao Kadam founded the Grand Bombay Circus in 1920. It toured initially in Sindh and Punjab, now provinces of Pakistan. K. M. Kunhikannan, Keeleri Kunhikannan’s nephew and a versatile artist who created the Whiteway and Great Lion circuses, merged his two companies with the Grand Bombay Circus in 1947—which was renamed Great Bombay Circus.
Now, the circus, with its more than 300 employees and a menagerie of more than 60 animals, has become one of the biggest circuses in India. It recently performed in Sri Lanka and South Africa.
Rambo Circus was created by P.T.Dilip in 1991, out of the fusion of four old Indian circuses: Oriental Circus, Arena Circus, Victoria Circus, and Fantasy Circus. Rambo Circus has toured India extensively and also the Middle East. It is run today (2011) by Sujit and Sumit Dilip, the sons of its founder.
A young daredevil, Gopalan Mulloli started his small circus company the village of Zeera, in Punjab, in 1958. His circus was named after his son, Raj, and his wife, Kamala, by combining their names into Rajkamal. The Rajkamal Circus steadily grew in importance and made extensive tours in India visiting its largest cities, and later in the countries of the Gulf. It is today one of the largest circuses of India.
M. V. Shankaran’s Jumbo Circus, “The Pride of India,” opened its doors on October 2, 1977, in Dhanapur, in the state of Bihar (in Eastern India). It is probably the best known, and the largest circus in India—a modern enterprise that, since its inception, had included a important traveling menagerie.
It is part of the conglomerate of circuses owned by the Shankaran family (see Gemini Circus, above); In recent years, it has presented a company of Russian performers.