Circus pioneer Gemini Sankaran dies at 99

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A performance by the members of the ‘Gemini Circus’ in Mangaluru. File photo

A performance by the members of the ‘Gemini Circus’ in Mangaluru. File photo
| Photo Credit: The Hindu

Gemini Sankaran, the founder of Gemini Circus and a pioneer of Indian circus, has died, family sources said on Monday, April 24, 2023. He was 99.

Sankaran was admitted to a private hospital near here for the past few days due to age-related ailments and died on Sunday night.

Condoling the demise, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan hailed Sankaran for playing a major role in popularising Indian circus worldwide. “He played a major role in modernising the Indian circus and included foreign performers and their tricks,” Vijayan said.

The Chief Minister said he had close ties with Sankaran who had a progressive outlook.

Sankaran used to have close relations with various Prime Ministers, Presidents and other prominent personalities.

His demise is a great loss to the art of circus in the country, Mr. Vijayan said.

Sankaran, who was born in 1924, trained under noted circus artist Keeleri Kunhikannan for three years and later joined the military and retired after the Second World War.

After working with various circus groups across the country, he purchased Vijaya Circus Company in 1951 and renamed it as Gemini Circus. Later, he started his second company, Jumbo Circus.

He was honored by the Union government with a lifetime achievement award considering his overall contribution to circus in the country.

Sankaran is survived by two sons and a daughter.

His body will be kept at his residence for the public to pay homage and the last rites will be held at Payyambalam beach on Tuesday.

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