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Cirque du Soleil comes to Mumbai: A sneak preview

It’s a fantastic circus act, but not the greatest Cirque show was the verdict of those who have seen the troupe perform in Montreal and Vegas and were in the audience on Sunday.

mumbai Updated: Nov 15, 2018 18:05 IST
Aishwarya Iyer
Aishwarya Iyer
Hindustan Times
Cirque du Soleil,Canadian troupe,Mumbai
Cirque Du Soleil’s debut India show, Bazzar, is about a theatre troupe much like their own, that has come together from different backgrounds to develop a show.(Pratik Chorge / HT Photo)

Cirque du Soleil, the Canadian troupe famous for its over-the-top productions and breathtaking acrobatics, makes its India debut in the city today. This is also the world premiere of their new production, Bazzar, about a theatre troupe much like their own, that has come together from different backgrounds to develop a show.

It’s a fantastic circus act, but not the greatest Cirque show, was the verdict of those who have seen the troupe perform in Montreal and Vegas and were in the audience for the invite-only preview held on Sunday.

“There are limitations that come with any touring company,” said Anil Dharker, a writer and columnist who was at the preview. “I watched a Cirque show a few years ago, in Montreal. There, the scale was much larger. But the production in Mumbai is worth watching. It was a complete package of dance, music and stunts.”

Bazzar features skaters, trapeze artistes, mallakhamb and (above) high-octane dance routines. (Pratik Chorge / HT Photo)

On stage, the Maestro emerged alongside a glass box containing a woman. At a gesture from him, a band appeared and began playing. When the gymnastics took off, there were moments that were breathtaking — including complex trapeze and roller-skate acts; coordinated somersaults and flips.

A high point was the teeterboard act — where two men take turns jumping and somersaulting high in the air and landing on the edge of a seesaw-like plank. Amid the fire-juggling, slackline walks and bicycle stunts came a proud moment, as two Indian mallakhamb artistes took the stage — another first for Cirque. The costumes and set design seemed less dazzling than what has come to be the norm for the world’s most famous circus troupe, though, and the stunts less death-defying.

Several acts combined theatricality and acrobatic skills in the style of Cirque du Soleil shows worldwide. (Pratik Chorge / HT Photo)

Still, it’s a rare opportunity to see the troupe live, and tickets — priced between ₹2,000 and ₹12,500 — are being snapped up online. The Mumbai schedule has been extended; the Delhi one may be too. For now, at least 49 shows are planned across the two cities over 34 performance days between now and January 6.

Bazzar, incidentally, has been brought to India by BookMyShow, which recently produced Disney’s desi adaptation of its Broadway show, Aladdin. After Bandra-Kurla Complex, Cirque’s big top will move to Aerocity in Delhi.

“We are looking forward to having more shows in India next year and in the years after that,” said Cirque’s Susan Gaudreau, director of Bazzar. “Our objective is to find new markets and audiences, and here in India we are liking the way we are received and celebrated.”

First Published: Nov 15, 2018 17:56 IST