Cirque Du Soleil to debut with two Indian performers and a mallakhamb act

Two Indians, quite a bit of mallakhamb, aerial hoops and suspension acts are among the thrills you can expect at the India debut of Cirque Du Soleil. The Canadian troupe that started with 14 street dancers in 1984 is bringing its large-than-life production values to Mumbai on November 14, from where it will travel to Delhi, most likely in mid-December.

Cirque Du Soleil (French for Circus of the Sun) is known for its traveling big-top tents, its hit shows in Las Vegas, and its wild, over-the-top acrobatics. They’re expected to bring 25 containers full of props and costumes, a cast and crew of 62 and a tent 19 metres high and 41 metres in diameter to their debut at the MMRDA grounds in BKC.

The production, called Bazzar, follows a troupe (like Cirque) who have come together from different backgrounds to develop a show and build the sets, led by their Maestro. There’s a dramatic interlude between a floating woman and the Maestro. There’s a hairceau act, featuring acrobatics by a woman suspended by a metal loop embedded in her topknot. And a sampling of the aerial-hoop, acrobats-flying-at-each-other kinds of stunts that they are best known for.

“For the first time ever, we’re introducing two Indian performers who will display strength and technique through mallakhamb,” says Marie Helene Delage, director of creation for Bazzar. “We’ve created Bazzar as a way to introduce Cirque to India, since we’d been looking to tour here for a while,” adds Finn Taylor, senior vice president of Touring Shows.

The show will accommodate about 1,500 in Mumbai. “India is a completely new market for us. That’s why we are working with local partners to help us better understand the Indian ways and culture,” says Delage.

One of the two mallakhamb artists they’ve roped in is 34-year-old Santacruz resident Rajesh Mudki, who says he had been waiting for such an opportunity for “the longest time”. He was given the freedom to create his own character and will be introducing the audience to Mr No, in a four-and-a-half-minute “spiritual act that imparts positive energy to other characters”.

As international audiences have seen with Mystère (acrobats with a pinch of Chaplin comedy), Michael Jackson ONE (a joyful homage to the pop singer), and even Love (that plays homage to The Beatles), every production could include anything from people being shot out of cannons to Ferris wheels that spit fireworks.

Bazzar is being brought to India by BookMyShow, which recently produced Disney’s desi adaptation of its Broadway show, Aladdin. “We’re seeing a growing audience for international-level productions. Our aim is to make Mumbai a pit stop for such acts,” says BookMyShow COO Albert Almeida.

First Published: Aug 09, 2018 13:34 IST

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