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Sunday, April 21, 2013

Circus goes indoors, entertainers keep the show alive

 
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Sunday, Apr 21, 2013, 10:04 IST | Place: Pune | Agency: DNA
Omkar Rege 
Anand Dhotre of Rambo Circus has launched www.damoodhotre.com to spread legacy of Indian circus greats
A movable fair that toured villages and cities, the circus is now only a vague reminder of the visual spectacle it once was. As the circus fraternity celebrated World Circus Day on Saturday, Anand Dhotre of Rambo Circus, speaks to dna about the changing face of this popular form of entertainment.
Anand, who is the great-grandson of famous ringmaster and animal trainer Damoo Dhotre, was part of an event held on the account of World Circus Day in the city on Saturday. The event consisted of a rally by the artists from Rambo Circus along with students of Anath Hindu Mahilashram. It was an attempt to spread awareness about circus, which is a withering form.
“Vishnupant Chhatre, who started India’s first circus in 1883, was indeed a great man. Also, Damoo Dhotre, who was a world renowned animal trainer, has made great contribution to the world of circus. But people are oblivious to their existence,” Anand said. The event also felicitated the descendants of these circus greats.
 To mark this very occasion, the Rambo Circus will be performing at the Prithvi theatre in Mumbai.
This is the second time that the circus is being held at that venue. Explaining the shift of the circus from tents to enclosed auditoriums, Anand said, “The circus has been in danger of complete oblivion due to lack of grounds in the city. There is no place to set up such huge entourages anymore. The private grounds that are available are too expensive.”
He said, “Wild animals, which were an attraction, have been banned from being used in the performances.”
The shift of venue has presented itself with newer challenges and newer opportunities. “First of all, animals are out of the question when it is indoors. The stage area is limited and the audience is only seated on one side rather than sitting around you,” Anand pointed out. However, this has allowed for some experimentation.
“We have acts like juggling; knife throwing and we are doing our best to keep these art forms alive by promoting them,” Anand revealed. In an attempt to protect what is left and grow from there, Anand has also started a movement on the social media. With a website called www.damoodhotre.com, which provides valuable information on the history and legacy of Indian circus’ greats, and a Facebook page titled Circus Fan Club India, Anand is trying to spread the word.

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