Circus village of Kerala 'Thalassery' loosing its gleam

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Thalassery (Kerala), Mar 5 (ANI): The Indian circus industry which is seeing many leaps and bounds these days posing a threat to an age-old art form, in which the villagers of Thalassery in Kerala are becoming a part as no one interested in pursuing it.

Keeleri Kunhikkannan, known as the father of the Indian circus, is from Thalassery and established first circus institute in Kerala and the second of its kind in India in 1901.

It was Kunhikkannan's visit to the Great Indian Circus in 1888 that marked the beginning of the circus legacy of this town and nearby areas.

Later, the disciples of Kunhikannan founded great circus companies such as the Malabar Circus, Whiteway Circus, Fairy Circus, Great Rayman Circus, Eastern Circus, Oriental Circus, Kamala Three Ring Circus, Gemini Circus, Great Bombay Circus and Great Lion Circus.

The Kannur-Thalassery regions being the hub of ancient martial art form 'Kalaripayattu' and Theyyam another ritual art, it was easy for them to be flexible in gymnastics and in those days people from this village used to send their children from an early age to practise the rings mainly in to see better future and good jobs, that is how this region and its artists became famous.

These days no one considers it as a good pay pack during the job and even after their retirement.

Spring Net Gopalan, who has been in the industry for over 50 years said: "What I think people these days are not interested, as now I get only 500 rupees as pension amount, which is not enough for buying medicines. This situation of mine is witnessed by all the villagers here, still because of my proficiency and self-image leads me to survive in this village".

Radha Kumari another known artist in Jeep jumping feels the main reason for people not interested in this is the hard work and pain when compared to the remuneration they get from other jobs.

Off late, the state government is now thinking to promote the village in boosting circus and for which a special circus academy is planned to be set up in the area. By Juhan Samuel (ANI)

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