Picture this. You’re attending a wedding with some 10,000 other guests. You’re enjoying the ambience and the great food. And then you notice the centrepiece at the venue a large chandelier. You realise there’s something unusual about the large installation and then it hits you. It’s a human chandelier! This awestruck reaction was exactly what Gaurav Gondal, aka Yogi, was looking to create when he, along with his Russian partner Yulia Padalka, launched the company Yogi’s Angels in 2005.
A backpacker’s story
In 2002, the former sales manager quit his job to pursue his passions - travelling, music and dance. “Between 2002 and 2006, I backpacked across Europe for the sole purpose of attending music and dance festivals. During peak season - between May and September - there was a music and dance festival in a different city every weekend. I used to volunteer at these festivals and that way I had a pass to get in. Sometimes I made money by selling items I’d brought from India such as handicrafts,” recalls Gondal.
During his stay in Germany, he even learnt how to fire dance. “A troupe of fire dancers offered me some informal training. I even performed with them at an event or two,” he reveals. When he returned to India for good, inspired by his experiences in Europe, he decided to set up an entertainment company. “At that time - about six years ago - the technology they used in Europe was far ahead of what we had in India. I wanted to introduce that here - a combination of human performances and high technology,” adds Gondal. And that is the story behind Yogi’s Angels - the name predictably inspired by the film Charlie’s Angels.
Offering over 15 different kinds of international acts, Yogi’s Angels is adding a new lot of performances this year including the Human Fountain, Dancing Human A/V and Champagne Chandelier. “These acts will be launched in October. The artistes, who are from Russia, are currently training for these acts,” says Gondal.
Being Yogi’s angel
“On an average, I have about 20-25 performances a month,” says Katherina Ramamava, a 24 year-old professional gymnast from Belarus, who has been performing with Yogi’s Angels for the past two years. “We are a team of 20 dancers, half of us are professionally trained gymnasts from across Europe,” adds Ramamava, who has trained for 12 years.
Yogi’s “angels” work with choreographers and often develop their own acts. “Sometimes, the clients want us to customise the performance for them. Just last month, Toyota was launching their new car Camry in Delhi and wanted us to do an acrobatic gymnastic show. We worked very hard, and reached Delhi two days in advance so we could practice. But it was all worth it,” she recalls, adding that it was probably one of her favourite performances. “We have performed all over India and overseas too - in Thailand, Nepal, etc - and it is very difficult to say which was my absolute favourite,” she says.
Ask Delhi-based Rashi Entertainment’s Rajiv Jain the same question and he has an answer ready. Jain has hired Yogi’s Angels for several events and weddings he has organised over the years. He tells us about the one act that has truly mesmerised audiences. “The Helio Angel act, where a girl flies in from the sky and hands over the varmala to the bride and groom,” he reveals, refusing to divulge names for the high-profile weddings.
Currently based out of Goa, the company is extending its base to Delhi this year. “This will give us easier access to the north and eastern India,” concludes Gondal. Of course, this doesn’t mean his angels can’t fly out anywhere else you might want them to.
Yogi’s Angels offers over 15 different kinds of performances. The cost of a performance can be anywhere between R15,000 and four lacs. “The most popular so far have been Laser Angels, Quick Change and Helium Balloon,” says Gaurav Gondal, co-founder of Yogi’s Angels. “This year we are expecting a good response for Human Fountain, Dancing Human A/V and Champagne Chandelier,” he adds. Helio-Angels, one of their most popular acts, involves a girl descending from a helium balloon. Like other acts, this one can be customised to your needs. At weddings, a performer hands over varmalas to the bride and the groom.