K. Chakravarthy, 48, proprietor of Reena National Circus, moments before he takes aim at a target to check the accuracy of his rifle.
Bow & Arrows
Chakravarthy’s better half, C. Reena, 35, is often the only female presence in a testosterone-filled crew. Crew members are recruited from time to time, based on demand, with the help of agents.
Juggling balls, rings and balance board.
Chakravarthy literally has to be on his toes during any time the circus is operating as there is very little downtime between his acts.
T. G. Arun, 29, has been performing for Reena National Circus since February. His act involves dressing up as Michael Jackson and enthralling the crowd by executing all of MJ’s signature moves to perfection.
The lasso act is one of many Chakravarthy’s performances that keeps the audience glued to their seats.
Jiyaul Ansari’s, 33, signature act involves rubbing his face against, rolling over, and stamping shards of glass.
Chakravarthy’s stepson Sani, 16, slumbers on a Sunday morning.
K. Chakravarthy is a showman par excellence who’s literally grown up under the big top.
Having lost his mother at a young age, Chakravarthy ran away from home at 10. He toiled as a busboy in Bengaluru for a short while, but lured by a colleague at work, who was in search of greener pastures, he became a runaway once again. The kids boarded a train to Hassan, Karnataka, but fate had other plans. Upon arrival at their destination, his colleague scammed him out of the few hundred rupees that he was carrying, and the young and naive Chakravarthy lay in despair at the train station with nowhere to go! Moved by his plight, he was offered a job at the railway canteen.
Just as he was getting settled into his new job, out of the blue comes a train carrying circus cargo – stupendous circus wagons, enormous elephants, ferocious tigers and all that razzmatazz. Amar Circus had brought their paraphernalia to set up camp in the town and after scoring a pass to one of their shows, Chakravarthy was bitten by the circus bug! He ran away (once again!) in hopes of getting a job at this circus and lo and behold he got hired, though at another establishment – Geeta Circus.
From then on, it’s been one hell of a ride for the last three decades at over a dozen Indian circuses: after getting his start as a helper in the kitchen, he progressed to doing group acts, then solo acts, then the acts got a little daring, and then riskier until finally he became a revered name in the business. Everything was hunky-dory until it all came to a screeching halt three years back when he and his missus suffered a major accident while performing one of their signature acts. Despite the grievous blow, he’s managed to pull himself back and founded Reena National Circus last year and has since been toiling day and night to make his baby click with the audience.
Mr. Chakravarthy can be reached at +91 951 497 9550
In this day and age where a person’s success is measured by his bank balance, one can’t help but admire Giridhar’s resolve to invest all his time and energy into his lifelong passion: distance running. Giridhar “Giri” Balasubramanian, who’s been running full-time for more than a year now, broke his 10K PR recently. He is all set to take on bigger athletes at one of India’s biggest races, the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon, in November.
“When Louie was one year old he developed bone deposits in his jaw causing it to fuse shut and making it very difficult for him to eat. This rare, noncancerous excess bone growth called Craniomandibular osteopathy was a serious problem, and enough for his owners to elect euthanasia. My friend and fellow classmate Nicole Berlin heard about Louie from another student and we decided to see if we could save him…”
“The first time I ever saw a ferret I was at a summer school class, when I was 12, about different “critters” or something like that. Everyone else was excited about the rabbits or the fast hamsters, but I was fascinated by this slinky and sleepy animal in the cage … Gandalf was the first pet I ever had. Having him in my life has definitely changed it for the better. Whenever I am lonely or sad I have this warm living teddy bear to snuggle with.”