P.K. Vijayan has more use for a lipstick than most women.
After colouring his lips, he uses it to paint a round, pink patch on his nose, and under his eyes, too.
The clown is, for many, the hero at any circus. One of the seniormost clowns at Gemini Circus, Vijayan transforms from one among us to the exotic comedian within minutes. All he needs is a small rectangular mirror, his multi-coloured check shirt and a little box containing a lipstick, kajal , and some face paint. “My parents too worked in a circus,” says the 66-year-old who has spent the larger part of his life in a circus tent. His brother, Gangadhar also performs with him. “Unlike comedians in films, who get a lot of guidance from the director, clowns have to come up with their own ideas. We have to make people laugh using just our gait and gestures,” he says.
Children take clowns very seriously, says Vijayan. “Once, I pretended to beat my brother on stage, during a performance in New Delhi. A few kids ran up to me and begged me to stop. We were so touched.”