Rajesh Mudki has been practising mallakhamb from the age of six, and says his dream is to give an international platform to the traditional Indian sport.
His dream is turning into a reality with the inclusion of mallakhamb in Cirque du Soleil’s show “Bazzar”. Mudki will be giving a desi twist to the show by a globally popular live entertainment company. In “Bazzar”, two Indian mallakhamb artistes, one of whom is Mudki, will join the cast and crew from 50 nationalities.
“I am practising mallakhamb from the age of six. I have seen the life of a mallakhamb sportsperson. I always used to think that there is no growth in the sport,” Mudki told IANS after giving a special preview of the show in Montreal.
“But I always wanted to see it at the international platform because of the love for the sports. After getting my highest award (Shiv Chhatrapati Award) in Maharashtra, I thought what will I do now.
“So one day my group started thinking what we can do to make this sports international. We started a website and thought of giving knowledge to people not only in India but all over the world. That is how I started by giving knowledge to people,” he added.
Looking back, Mudki continued: “When we started the website, we didn’t hear from anybody for almost a year and then started getting some queries. We started teaching them and people started inviting us to different states and countries.”
There’s no music in the traditional mallakhamb act, but Mudki is trying to spin an entertainment angle with some tunes and beats.
“We came with the idea to add music to make it a little more entertaining. ‘India’s Got Talent’ gave us a big platform (to create an act with dance and music for entertainment). We never had an idea of beats and counts. The only thing we knew was that we had to promote the sport.”
Cirque du Soleil is popular for reinventing the culture of circus with themed, theatre-style acts — without animals — featuring multi-talented performers such as acrobats, gymnasts, mimes and musicians.
They are starting their Indian story with “Bazzar”, its 43rd original production. It will come to Mumbai in November, and then head to Delhi. For the India foray, they have partnered with BookMyShow.
They have gone back to the roots to enter India as “Bazzar” is more of a compact show — just like the way it started, but staying true to the essence of a ‘Cirque’ show.
Mudki, who hails from Mumbai, feels honoured to come to India with the foreign troupe in the show. He was waiting for over ten years for this opportunity.
“I have followed Cirque du Soleil since the time I started pursuing this artistic life. I came to know about Cirque du Soleil and it has been more than a decade since I applied to be part of the show. At that time, they were really surprised that such kind of art form exists.
“Last year, I got an email from Cirque du Soleil and asked if I was interested in this show and I said yes.”
“It is my honour and pleasure to be part of the project. It will be a good experience,” added the artiste, who has featured in “Dhoom 3” and other TV shows.