Thursday, 18 August, 2011
Street magician Ashiq Ali bags ‘best performer’ title in magic fair
Thiruvananthapuram: 62-year-old street magician Ashiq Ali of Kalendar colony in Delhi has become champion of the magic competitions held as part of the three-day ‘Indiajaal’ national integration magic fair that came to a close here on the Independence Day (15/08/2011). Mr. Ali, who is an expert in traditional Indian style of performing magic in open air venues defeated his modern counterparts who for their demonstrations had to resort to closed indoor stages. During the closing ceremony held in the evening, the Chief Minister, Oommen Chandy handed over a cash prize of Rs.50000 sponsored by the State Bank of Travancore; a memento and a certificate of appreciation to the magician. A roaring audience at the AKG Memorial Hall was taken aback to perfect silence for a moment as the street magician became emotional and broke into tears embracing the CM first and then Gopinath Muthukad, the chief organiser of the event.
Mr. Ali’s debut in magic was on the streets of Delhi five decades before as an assistant to his father. Magic today is his only means to find square meal a day. His masterpiece item include disappearing his 17-year-old son Sharooq Khan, appearing him back and cutting his neck using a knife – all in daylight in open venues, right before the closely scanning eyes of spectators. He was adjudged winner by a special jury comprising of magicians and non-magician members of the audience.
During his speech, the CM announced that his government would support all progressive programmes undertaken by the Magic Academy for using the potential s of the magical art as a medium for social service and mass communication. He distributed prizes to winners in various competitions. The function was presided over by the president of the Kerala Sahitya Akademi, Perumbadavam Sreedharan. Deputy General Manager of the Cochin Shipyard Ltd., M.D. Varghese and Chief General Manager of SBT, S. Balachandran honoured magicians. Mr. Muthukad gave welcome address and Director of the Academy, Chandrasenan Mithirmala conveyed vote of thanks.
In the morning Major Ravi, an army officer turned cine director who uses his cinemas for promoting national integration, led an Independence Day rally taken by the magicians on the city roads. At the conclusion of the rally, he hoisted the National Flag and addressed a gathering of students of the St. Joseph’s school and magical artistes. “The feel of being an Indian should be the only caste and religion for all Indians”, he told. In reply, NCC and Naval cadets performed acrobatic drill whereas magician Abhinraj staged a magic show. Mr. Muthukad offered a memento of honour to Mr. Ravi.
Other winners of the Indiajaal: Conjuring magic Sr.: Tushar Kumar, Delhi (First); Vishba Jit, Hariana (Second); Juniors.: Mohammed Shanu, Kerala (First); R.A. Oshiya, Kerala (Second); Patter Magic Sr.: Sudheer Madakath, Kerala (First); P.K. Shanker, West Bengal (Second); Juniors: R.R. Yadunadh, Tamil Nadu (First); Zenia Bhumgara, Maharashtra (Second); Flash Magic: NRS Narasimhan, Andhra Pradesh (First); Manoj Kumar, Delhi (Second).