Thursday, 28 January, 2010

Magic Academy award for Junior Mandrake

Thiruvananthapuram: 58-year-old Mani Antony who during his childhood fantasized Lee Falk’s cartoon character, Mandrake and later became a famous magician named, Junior Mondrake, has won this year’s 'Indrajaala Prathibha Puraskaram', a lifetime achievement award for magicians instituted by the Magic Academy.

Hailing from Kothamangalam in Ernakulam, Mr. Antony’s contributions in the field of magic till December 2009 were considered by the Academy for adjudging him the winner. The award comprising of a purse of Rs.10000, memento designed by artiste Bhattathiri and a certificate of honour will be presented to him by the minister of culture, M.A. Baby in the last week of February. The first recipient of this award was magician P.M. Mithra.

Mr. Antony started his magical life in 1970 by becoming a disciple to the grandfather of magic in Kerala, Vazhakunnam Neelakantan Namboodiri. He is among a few lucky magicians of the State to earn the traditional routines of cups and balls magic by sitting in ‘Padmasana’ in front of guru, Vazhakunnam. As a school student, he was captivated by vagrant street magicians. Enormous enthusiasm for the cartoon character Mandrake earned him the nickname, ‘Junior Mandrake’ in school. When he grew into a famous magician, he adopted this as his professional name. A post graduate in Sociology, his debut magic show was in 1974. He has performed over 3000 stages in and out of Kerala. ‘Mahajal’, his 3-hour-long magic show with 12-member troupe became a big hit during the beginning of 1980s. Through these performances, he could attract several youngsters to the arena of magic.

Mr. Antony owns a huge collection of valuable foreign books on magic and rarely found magic equipments. At present he is on an investigation to find more impressive ways of presenting close-up magic – the one that requires tremendous skill.

His daughter, Margaret and twin sons, Michael and Antony are to magic like ducklings to water. Selin is his wife.