The Modern Circus in Pakistan
Updated: May 16
Performers and entertainers traveled around, earning coins for their skills, a practice in modern-day Pakistan that outdates the arrival of the British in the Indian subcontinent.
However, the modern circus's origin is attributed to Philip Astley, a British cavalry officer who set up the first modern amphitheater to display horse riding tricks in Lambeth, London, on 4 April 1768.
In 1879, the Royal Italian Circus by Giuseppe Chiarini toured British India. This was the first-ever circus performance Indians had seen.
Inspired by this, the Great Indian Circus was started with its first performance held the following year, in 1880.
Seven years later, the Great Bengal Circus was founded and toured the subcontinent and South East Asia.
In 1904, the Malabar Grand Circus, the first circus company in Kerala state, was inaugurated.
In 1920, the Grand Bombay Circus began.
After partition, it was in 1969 that Mr. Farzand, a renowned name in the field of performing arts, decided to launch a circus in collaboration with Iranian performers. From there came the name Lucky Irani Circus.
Under the banner of “Arain Pictures,” Mr. Farzand produced several hit movies like Haseena Numbri, Mujhe Jeenay Do, Sangam, Ameer Khan, and Waris Shah.
Lucky Irani Circus was a huge success. It was a revolution in the field of performing arts.
Although the circus has lost its urban audience in Pakistan, the Janbaz Circus is another name that rose to fame in the early 2000s. It was featured by the Guardian in 2010 and continues to perform in villages and smaller cities and towns.
This blog has been written by Komal Salman.