Those days for kids like us, circus clown was the brightest, happiest, funkiest,funniest and the most sprightly creature on earth ! He made us laugh and laugh till our stomachs burst at the seam and tears stained our eager faces. Clowns came in different sizes and shapes: some thin like a reed , some thickset as a stub, the long legged ones , the dwarfs, the pint sized ones ,and some even ordinary and normal. Much to our joy and delight, a magic world opened up before us with pretty girls doing acrobatics and cycling, unimaginable acts by trained animals, and what not! But , for us the best were the clowns, who laughed and played pranks on one another. We saw them patting their bottoms to a cloud of dust after being hit by on their posterior by another.What buffoonery it was! All were otherworldly creatures with painted faces , cherry-colored bulbous nose and a garish red curve for a smile, who engaged in all kinds of antics and pranks. A visit to the circus was a much awaited event and parents would religiously take the kids to the circus which arrived with much fanfare every year.On one such occasion we heard elder siblings talking about Raj Kapoor’s film Mera Naam Joker(1970) – My Name is Joker- running in cinema halls but we kids weren’t movie-buffs, but yes, thumbs up for circus shows anytime!
It was only many years later when i chanced to see Mera Naam Joker that i realized that a circus clown’s life wasn’t as colorful a life as we knew it back then: it had all its usual quota of joys and sorrows, heart burns and heartaches, more so in a hostile showbiz world. Sadly, a circus clown’s cheerfully masked face now lay exposed! As a performer, Raju , the Joker had to entertain his audience come what may, for performers are made like this. Undoubtedly, Raju as clown stole the show by his heartwarming act, but the movie failed to become the flawless cult classic Raj Kapoor had aspired it to be.