Meet the illusionist
As Arjun Guru walks into the cozy café in Palarivattom, he breaks all notions of a mentalist who has cold, piercing eyes, in a head-to-toe black outfit. Here is a little guy with a childlike face – you hardly believe that he is 20 – in his turtleneck tee and casual jeans speaking with great enthusiasm about his intuitive art.
“Mentalism is a combination of psychology, deception and magic. Its objective is to create an illusion in the mind of the audience. Everything happens inside a person’s head,” he begins.
Born to Malayali parents and brought up in Saudi Arabia, Arjun was smitten by magic as a little boy. His parents encouraged him by getting him a lot of books and initiating him into the magical world. Sinking his teeth further into the art, he started developing his own concepts and impressed everyone with his tricks. Inspired by the likes of Derren Brown, after class XII, he declared that he wanted to take up mentalism as his profession, but that didn’t impress his parents much. “If it’s a successful career, why aren’t there many mentalists in India?” was what his dad asked.
“Following your dream is the most difficult thing here. But once I started getting shows and earned a bit, my parents became happy and supported me,” says Arjun, who, along with mindreading, is also doing his graduation in Economics and Finance at ISBF, Delhi, affiliated to the London School of Economics.
He has heard about mentalists Adarsh Aathi and Nipin Niravath from Kerala and has watched their videos as well. The only show he has experienced in person is that of Karan Singh, the psychological illusionist. A self-taught mentalist, Arjun has developed a style of his own which reflects in his shows. “It’s more like an entertainment show. Though it is an extension of magic, people are the integral part of the show as it incorporates psychology,” he says.
For the past two years, he has been doing college and corporate shows in Delhi. His first show in Kochi – Intuitions: Random musings of a Mentalist – is happening on Sunday at the Ledhi Art Café and he is quite excited and a bit nervous about it. “I have no idea about the market here. It’s a test for me. It’s a series of two shows with 25 attendees in each. The bookings are almost over and I hope it will come out well,” he adds.
Usually, it happens that after his show, people claim that it is a setup. This time too, random people will attend the show and Arjun foresees a similar result but he is positive about the outcome. The seats are all full that it is learnt that he might go for a third show.
So, as the movies say, can he talk to ghosts? To this, he laughs, “I personally don’t believe in ghosts. And no, there are no paranormal elements in my show. My performance is based on logic, something I believe in. It’s an interactive show, like a movie with a twist towards the end. It’s hard to explain. To know more, you have to experience it.”
The youngster dreams to be an inspiration to people who wants to pursue their passion. Through his vlog and a YouTube channel, he plans to take the mission forward. The photo session ended with applause as he levitated the eyeglasses of the photographer and surprised everyone.
Stressing on his dream, Arjun says, “I want everyone to be happy. For that, firstly, I need to be successful and show the world that everyone can follow their heart and stay happy.”