The face of Indian circus, Gemini Shankaran, passed away

Gemini Shankaran (99), the patriarch of the circus, passed away. On Sunday at 11.40 p.m., he died at a private hospital in Kannur. He was hospitalized for four days due to ailments associated with old age. The residence will be open to the public beginning at 11 a.m. on Monday. Payyambalam will hold a funeral on Tuesday.

Kavinisheri Raman Nair and Moorkoth Kalyaniyamma gave birth to him on June 13, 1924 at Kolassery, near Thalassery. He studied circus for three years after finishing his seventh grade education under Thalassery Keeleri Kunhikkannan. Meanwhile, he owned a grocery store but was not successful. Shankar later joined the army and retired at the end of World War II.

Shankaran returned to Thalassery in 1946 with circus ambitions and obtained additional circus training from MK Raman. After two years, he moved to Kolkata and joined the ‘Boss Lion Circus’ as a trapeze artist, subsequently joining the National Circus. Shankaran was a specialist on the horizontal bar and the flying trapeze. He also spent a long time with the famed Rayman Circus. In 1951, he bought the Vijaya Circus Company for six thousand rupees and named it after his birth star, Gemini. The first show was held on 15 August 1951 at Billimora, Gujarat. On October 2, 1977, he started his second circus company, Jumbo Circus, and later Great Royal Circus.

He had received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Central government for his extensive contributions to the circus. Late Shobhana was his wife. Ajay Shankar, Ashok Shankar (both managing partners of Gemini Grand and Jumbo Circus), and Renu Shankar (Australia) are his children. Poornima Ajay, Sunitha Ashok, and Pradeep are her nephews.

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