The lockdown due to coronavirus affected everyone’s livelihood significantly. The lockdown has adversely affected the future of circuses as there is no audience for the shows. Many circus operators don’t even have money to recharge their phones.
Clowns, who bring smiles to many people, animals like lions, tigers and elephants who perform on the directions of ring masters, motorcycles running in the well of death, girls performing stunts etc might not be seen anymore which means the circus might become a history for the next generation.
Anil Kumar, manager of Asiad Circus, told IANS, “Our circus has been closed since March 13. Some of the people working have gone back to their homes while some are still living in the camp but they are working as daily wage labourers. They sleep here after coming back from their work.”
“The situation was already bad for us, but the pandemic spread has made it worst. Earlier, we hardly managed to earn bread and butter but now we don’t even have money to recharge our phones,” he said.
There used to be around 150-200 circuses in the country but due to the restrictions imposed due to coronavirus, they are on the verge of closure. Some of the circuses closed down due to increasing cost while the remaining are closing down due to various restrictions imposed by the government.
Though there is a circus association in the capital but due to lack of members it is also not active.
According to circus operators, around 10 to 15 circus closed down due to coronvirus while the remaining are struggling. According to Kumar, circus is no longer a profitable business and if the government does not pay attention, soon it will just be on papers.
However, the growth of multimedia has also affected the circus business as now children have a lot of options for their entertainment.
Rambo Circus, one of India’s most popular and oldest circus, has been badly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. In order to provide financial assistance to the members of this circus, it has started digital shows.
Rajesh Shah, a resident of Boroda, runs a consultancy which helps the circus companies. Shah said, “Out of 20 big circus across the country, only 10 big are existing now. All the artists have gone back to their hometowns because of Covid.”
“It will be very difficult to get these artists back as they are very hardworking and they will find some other work for themselves.”
The Great Bombay Circus, which started from Mumbai in 1920, completed 100 years this year and witnessed a great success but currently its condition is bad. Two brothers run this circus.
Sanjeev, the owner of the Great Bombay Circus, said, “150 members of the circus have gone back to their homes because of no work in the past seven years. Everyday cost of running a circus is around Rs 1 lakh. A lot of circus companies have closed down in the last two years. We even had to borrow money from relatives due to financial problems.”
“There is an association, the Indian Circus Federation, but it is also not active now because there are no active members. More circus companies will close down in the future,” he said.
“The government will have to help our industry financially. Nobody thought that this disease will bother for so long. While showing online circus is not feasible for a long time, because a whole family will watch the circus on one ticket which will result in huge loss for us in the future,” Sanjeev added.