The circus. A
world of colours. Festoons, confetti and shades
of glitz. But Saibal has captured this world of
fantasy in simple black and white. Why?
Perhaps because his interest lies not in the world
of illusion but in the real one behind the scenes,
where living and surviving is far more tougher
than triple somersaults on the trampoline. Circus
life through Saibal’s lens reveals poignant
human moments. The girl who performs with the
lioness in the ring is seen sitting in front of
a mirror putting on her make up.
The lioness, whom she whips in the ring, stands
up behind her, the paw touching the girl’s
shoulder affectionately. Both have a very solemn
look. The cage is around them, the cage of society
where each and every move is open to scrutiny.
Saibal shoots another female performer sitting
on her props, looking at the snack packets strewn
on the ground. The show is over, the giant marquee
is empty, but the girl stares into the distance.
A single false step or an indiscreet move might
end her career; there will be no claps, no whistles.
Wandering from one place to another, their life
of circus performers is filled with contradictory
events. One moment there is stardom and the next
is wrapped in gloom. They yearn for conventional
family life but to survive they must put on that
costume, ride up that ladder, fly through the
air on a trapeze and tie their knot with the circus
party. Their task is to provide fantasy and temporary
escape for others, but who will provide a fairy
tale moment for them?
From ‘Circus Life: Saibal Das Snaps Life
from a Trapezium’ by Nayyara Noor.