Under the big top, Indian circuses scramble to stay open

A man feeds an elephant outside the circus tent.

Two years after India’s Supreme Court banned child circus performers, the Rambo Circus is one of a few dozen left (down from 300) in the country. In the 90s, many exotic animals like tigers, monkeys and lions were also banned.

The new regulations, combined with rising costs and dwindling ticket sales, has the remaining circuses scrambling to keep the tents open.

Photojournalist Adeel Halim gives us an intimate look under the big top of the Rambo Circus.

Aerial view of the Rambo circus tent and its artists' living quarters.

Aerial view of the Rambo circus tent and its artists’ living quarters.

An acrobat balances himself on a set of knives with a clown standing on his back during a performance.

A girls holds onto her soft toy while watching trapeze artists perform.

A girls holds onto her soft toy while watching trapeze artists perform.

A girl reacts as a blindfolded man throws burning knives towards her.

A girl reacts as a blindfolded man throws burning knives towards her.

A couple, both circus performers, sit on their bed looking out of their tent.

A couple, both circus performers, sit on their bed looking out of their tent.

Bikers prepare to ride motorcycles inside a metal ball.

Bikers prepare to ride motorcycles inside a metal ball.

Two clowns pose for a photograph standing outside the tent area.

Two clowns pose for a photograph standing outside the tent area.

A young acrobat prepares to balance himself on multiple chairs.

A young acrobat prepares to balance himself on multiple chairs.

Circus shooting performers pose for the camera.

Circus shooting performers pose for the camera.

Men wait for the circus gates to open to watch the next show.

Men wait for the circus gates to open to watch the next show.

Tents and equipment are packed in trucks as the dismounted circus readies to move to its next location.

Adeel Halim
Beginning his career as a photojournalist with Reuters News Agency, Adeel Halim now works as an independent professional photographer and a film maker. Halim’s work has taken him across Asia, Africa and Europe covering breaking news and feature stories for leading international corporations, NGOs and publications. See more of his work at AdeelHalim.com.
Adeel Halim

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