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    The International Clown Festival is back in the city for a second episode.

    With acts like juggling, magic, puppet shows, acrobatics, stilt walking and more, the second edition of the International Clown Festival is all set to enthrall city audiences this weekend. The show will follow what Martin Da��souza (also called Flubber the clown) and his four-member squad get up to as they escape from the circus into the real world. A delayed flight and a tiring schedule barely slowed down the energetic Da��souza and his team,A�A� Benjamin Domask and Oscar Flores, as they get ready for the two-day carnival. The trio speak about clowning as a growing art form and the perks of the job.

    State of affairs
    Clowning for close to 24 years now, Mumbai-based Da��souza is an MBA graduate-turned-full-time clown. While agreeing that entertainment is sought across regions, he notes, a�?India is not exposed to the concept of clowns outside of circuses and theatres. The Americanised clown still surprises Indian audiences.a�?A� While USA and Mexico have full-fledged degrees and schools for clownology, with Mexico alone having close to 10,000 clowns, a�?India barely has means for people to take to the art professionally,a�? adds the vice president of the World Clown Association, adding that, thankfully, today clowns are looked upon as artists and not tormented as portrayed in Tom and Jerry comics.

    Laughter therapy
    Flores tells us that his flair for clowning comes from his parents. In fact, when he was born,A� his father visited him in the hospital in his clown attire. a�?I started at the age of five and havena��t looked back since. I am the funny guy and I love making people happy,a�? says the 25-year-old. Excited about performing for city audiences for the second time, Minnesota-based Domask promises a weekend filled with fun. a�?We have a wide repertoire of skills so we can go a good 100 shows without worrying about repeating a single act. A large part of it depends on the audience too,a�? says the 27-year-old improv comic. DoA� adults take to clowning as well as kids do? a�?Adults need a laugh a lot more and wea��ve had people coming up to us and thanking us for giving them a good time,a�? quips Da��souza. Drawing inspiration from Laurel and Hardy, Charlie Chaplin and Mr.Bean among others, the trio agree that the job is as therapeutic to them as it is for those watching them. a�?We dona��t work a single day of our lives but manage to make people happy. Thata��s extremely rewarding,a�? says Domask, in conclusion.
    At Phoenix MarketCity 3.30. Details: 30083007

    a��Lavanya Lakshminarayanan


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