Wednesday, 17 April, 2013

An article from Times Of India

Magic in the city air

BHUBANESWAR: In the age of 3D movies and videogames  city denizens are being treated to some good old magic at the three-day International Magic Festival, which started here on Monday. People of all hues and age groups thronged Rabindra Mandap in droves on the inaugural day to witness magicians from around the globe pull off mind-blowing tricks from their hats, socks, shoes and of course thin air! 

While 23-year-old Ukrainian magician Kristy gave a spellbinding performance of changing the colour of her dress and shoes in the wink of an eye like a living hologram, Singaporean magician Bosco delivered the stuff of true magic by materializing anything the audience desired from among a list of objects featured on a projector on stage.

But tricks performed with seemed ease are not easy to execute, especially in the digital age when the audience is more aware, discerning and demanding than ever. "It is very challenging to create tricks and acts that keep pace with the changing time. Earlier we used to perform traditional tricks but now we have to match the growing intelligence level of the audience. These days we have started using new-age electronic gadgets like i-pods, tabs and projectors on stage to connect with the audience better," said Bosco.

Innovation is also the key to keep abreast with the changing trends of the magic world and to keep the interest alive in the art, said Kristy. "I love to perform new acts each time, for which I keep updating myself by reading lots of new books and of course scanning the Internet for new ideas. This is my second performance in India after a show in Delhi in September. I hope the audience liked my act," said the graduate in magic and circus studies.

The event, which features about 200 magicians from around the world, also includes eminent Indian names in the field like P C Sorcar (junior) and K Lal (Junior). Desi magicians, however, lamented the lack of government support for the art and the waning interest of people. "Unlike in foreign countries, in India magic shows are not very profitable. The government takes away 30% of a show's collection as entertainment tax and after paying for all other expenses like hiring the venue, lights, security, travel and transport, there are hardly any profits left. How can a magician think of improving his art in such a scenario? The government should come forward to promote and help sustain the art of magic," said ace magician K Lal (junior).

"The craze for magic shows has not reduced but due to lack of promotion and huge investment requirements not many Indian magicians can manage to continue the growth of the art," conceded M Harichandan, president of All Utkal Magician's Club that organized the event. He hailed the festival as a platform for magicians to come together and share ideas.

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