Clowning is serious business for Martin D’Souza. A B.Sc graduate from St Xavier’s College in Mumbai, an MBA, and a professional clown, D’Souza has brought to the country its first ever International Clown Fest. Organised by Mad Hatters, it’s on from November 5 to November 14. He aims to make people aware that clowning is not for the “uneducated and unemployed”. In the business for last two decades, D’Souza is also opening a clowning academy in the city.
“We’ll announce it at the festival. I’m going to set up the academy with the help of Mike Hirschbach from Cirque du Soleil. We’ll also have visiting faculty from abroad,” he informs, adding that they will teach social circus to underprivileged and orphan kids, and professional skills to the public.
“In India, clowns are called jokers and buffoons. But it’s a serious art form worldwide. In college, I started researching about clowning and eventually studied at the University of Wisconsin on a full scholarship. Sadly, Bollywood has made us out to be ugly midgets. I want to change that,” D’Souza. The festival will be an annual event.
D’Souza, also part of the World Clown Association, says that miming, juggling, rope-walking and other acrobatics are skills that need to be perfected over time. “Apart from circus clowning, we do carnivals, parades and educational programmes. It also includes physical and slapstick comedy,” he reveals.
The festival will have theatre shows, mall appearances, and charity programmes. “There are policemen, doctors and educationists who are clowns worldwide. My academy will also have people from all walks of life,” D’Souza says, insisting that the free-for-all festival has already seen a tremendous response.