Short Films: “Gladiators on Wheels” - 5 mins 50s
This fascinating short film from Souvid Datta explores the little-known world of Indian circus workers. Although 'stunt performers' seems like a more apt description of their work, as they ride motorbikes and cars around a Well of Death for the amusement of curious rural crowds.
It's not an easy life - many joined up due to a lack of work at home - but the team's camaraderie and passion for their work are clear from their contributions. Shot over the course of a single day in West Bengal, the piece introduces a diverse array of performers - including a lone woman who refuses to be limited by her gender.
Such a lifestyle may be destined to die out sooner rather than later (one veteran performer claims audiences these days are more interested in watching their phones), but for now, it's apparent that the excitement of the crowd and corresponding adrenaline rush are enough to keep engines running.