Nothing fascinates the common man like a simple magic trick. A magician as an entertainer is always recognised by the grandeur of his or her attire and the number of props placed strategically on various corners of the stage. The drama, the vibrantly clothed pretty assistants, mind-bending tricks and impossible feats — the art of performing magic on stage is still a big deal. But then, much has changed in this field, magic is no longer what it used to look like.
Magicians are upgrading themselves, rising to the challenge posed by a tech-savvy generation that learns and understands magic tricks from the know-it-all internet.
Much has changed in the field of magic with performers upgrading themselves to rise to the challenges posed by a tech savvy generation that learns the tricks of the trade from the internet
Recently, the city witnessed a magic show of a different kind. Mentalist Nipin Niravath took control of the minds of the spectators as he performed tricks on stage with less fanfare of a regular, traditional magic trick. What caught the audience off guard was the simple attire of the performer and the lack of too many props on stage.
Dressed casually in a waistcoat with the arms of his shirt folded up till the elbows, Nipin performed on stage with some soft music in the background where he advised the audience to respond to the favourite part of the music by clapping while he performed. Speaking about his performance, Nipin says, “My act is not exactly magic, I am more into mind reading which connects psychological elements.”
Explaining about the changes magic performances have undergone, he says, “Earlier, such shows were restricted to temple or church festivals, where a large number of public gathers. The type of crowd has changed today. This new generation of crowd watches and enjoys such shows at banquet halls, the class level has changed. So in such circumstances, if a magician is dressed up the way they used to, in shiny clothes with hat and wand, it would come off as fancy dress. Back then, people also used to assume that the costume is also a prop where things are hidden away. People like it simple and natural nowadays, that is what happens in international shows. My prop is the mind of the audience. Magic has definitely become a bit more transparent.”
Magician Hashim is another performer who resorts to skills to perform his magic. This required a lot of relentless practice. While performing on stage, Hashim uses his body language and tricks to communicate rather than talk.
“Mine is a one-man show and not an illusion. My style is more of production, i.e., a particular object, for example a card, will keep forming over and over again. This kind of trick requires immense practice. The things produced are real and not an illusion. These tricks are mostly done by international artistes in a 10 or 15-minute act.”
On upgrading tricks, he says, “After watching many magic-related shows, people now think that they know a lot of magic and the tricks behind it. But when I perform, I try to include tricks they might not have seen before.” Magician Aladin, who goes by the name of Aladin Comadin, has merged stand-up comedy with magic and close-up magic with humour.
He says, “Magic as a theatrical act still has a charm of its own. I make original tricks and original jokes. I use very little props; In fact, I do not use props at all. I create magic tricks from day-to-day articles. I borrow props from the audience.” He goes on to explain, “There is a lot of clarity in my shows. Sometimes, magic happens in the hands of the spectators.”