Coronavirus outbreak: Amid lockdown, 100 people of Rambo Circus stuck without any income

Updated: Apr 02, 2020, 07:36 IST | Vinod Kumar Menon | Mumbai

90 performers, 20 animals of Rambo Circus living in the open, ask for help

Sujit Dilip, Rambo Circus owner with his team. File pic
Sujit Dilip, Rambo Circus owner with his team. File pic

Amid the many people facing a tough time with the lockdown are also members of Rambo Circus, stranded at Kadi Maidan, Airoli. Around 60 men, 30 women, 10 children, 19 dogs and a pony stuck here without any business are now being helped by local NGOs and residents.

Ever since the government announced shutting down of malls, cinema halls and theatres, Rambo Circus too has had to stop its operations. The two shows daily have been called off and left the crew with no income at all, circus proprietor Sujit Dilip told mid-day.

"Our expenses have only gone up since that day since we were continuously disinfecting the circus tents and the place of residence of our members. We had to fumigate the place too," said Dilip, who has written to the Prime Minister and the Union Finance Minister seeking their intervention. He has sought a bank loan of around '10-15 lakh to be able to pay his staff. Given this tough financial situation, Dilip had put up posters asking for help and now the Thane Collector and NMMC have stepped in along with NGOs. Potable water (10,000 litres) is being provided to the circus daily along with local gurdwaras and residents helping with fruits and spices. "I will ensure that my staff and domestic animals do not suffer till I am alive," said Dilip, adding, "I have to keep this age-old circus art alive."

Poster requesting people for help
Poster requesting people for help

Visit to Russia
Dilip had visited Russia for a dialogue with Moscow State Circus in February and self-quarantined himself after the visit. "We had a sponsor who wanted us to come up with some excellent shows in collaboration with the Moscow State Circus but the pandemic derailed all our plans," said Dilip who could not pay the salaries of his team thereafter. He has been having difficulty taking care of the domestic animals, and now has a daily fund requirement of almost '25,000.

Precautions in place
Narendra Kumar, 24, the manager at the circus, said, "We have not received our payment for one month but our owner has ensured that none of us go to sleep hungry."

Kumar added that the staff is not allowed to step out of the tent area and work has been divided among everyone — from cooking to cleaning utensils to feeding animals and so on. "Two members have been given the task of procuring vegetables, milk and bread," Narendra said, adding that a veterinary doctor was also recently called to give special viral shots to the 19 dogs.

Rs 25,000
Daily fund circus crew needs

Jan 1991
Rambo Circus was born

Rambo circus history

Rambo Circus was born on January 26, 1991, by merging three well-known circuses — Arena Circus, Victoria Circus and Great Oriental Circus. T P Dilip was employed with Arena Circus since he was 18 and in 1980, Arena shut down and all other circuses started incurring losses. Rambo Circus was thus formed by merging three of them, with Dilip at the helm and it performed many international shows especially in the Gulf region. The circus employed 300 staff at the time.

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