It’s time once again for exciting feats as Gemini Circus pitches tent at SIAA Grounds

SIAA Grounds, hallowed space for Indian circus companies, is once again abuzz with the prattle of clowns, the roar of bikes locked into a globular metal cage and the collective gasps of audiences responding to similar high-risk acts. Gemini Circus has pitched tent at the Grounds, as if to illustrate that circuses will go on, despite the multiplicity of problems plaguing them.

An air of cheerfulness that enveloped the audience during a late afternoon performance showed that a section of our population still enjoys soaking in the atmosphere of a circus. From strikingly colourful costumes and music that seeks to build up the excitement to the charm of the inexplicably difficult made ridiculously easy, it’s the entire package that gets them.

All these elements were at their best, when Mohammed Israil pitted his gullet and stomach against what appeared to be a ceaseless stream of water. The showman from Kolkata guzzled water, drawn into transparent glass tumblers, and squirted out all the ingested water into a jug. But that was just starters.

The ‘main menu’ included wolfing down four gold fish and spitting them out alive — one after another — along with jets of water, into another waiting jug. Yet another long feat, which began with Israil drinking from two jugs of differently coloured water, one yellow and the other orange, ended with the performer squirting out yellow-coloured water first and orange-coloured water next.

Does this man’s stomach hide a storage tank with numerous compartments? Part of the answer to the conundrum came during a post-event chat with C.P. Prabhakaran, a senior manager of Gemini Circus. He said, “Ismail adjusts food intake to keep his stomach empty for a show.” A tantalizing balancing act, performed by Mahesh and Devaki swinging from ropes, had the audience catching their breath more than once. In this performance, titled Titanic, they were putting their limbs and lives at risk. On many occasions, safety clearly depended on proper coordination between the two. This is one pair that can’t carry marital irritants beyond home, simply because Mahesh and Devaki are man and wife! ‘Five Knives’ by Subharathri was another hair-raising performance that involved balance and agility and a zero margin of error. Even a little miscalculation could have resulted in serious injury from one or all of the five knives.

These three feats make up an extremely small section of what is a two-and-a-half hour show. Pole-gymnasts, flying trapeze artistes, synchronized group cycling and animal-dominated feats are among what constitutes the rest of it.

Shows timings: 1 p.m., 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. This season of circus is expected to go on till the first week of March. For details and bookings, log on to