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Posted at: May 17, 2018, 12:56 AM; last updated: May 17, 2018, 12:56 AM (IST)

Tricks up his sleeve

OP Sharma Jr. can make things appear and then disappear. But what you call magic, he calls illusion
Tricks up his sleeve

Amarjot Kaur

Magician OP Sharma Jr., who is in his mid-forties, performed his first magic stunt at a tender age of three at a magic show staged by his magician father OP Sharma. Since then, he has been learning the traditional tricks of the trade to take after his family’s profession. Among many of his idiosyncrasies is his passionate attachment with his profession which he constantly relates with science and engineering. He launches a tirade of arguments to validate his point, “I studied mechanical engineering and the literal meaning of magic is illusion. Think of optical illusion, or mirage; it is all scientific. I use a combination of technology and science to create a beautiful dance of illusions”. 

Kanpur-based OP Sharma Jr.’s real name is Satya Parakash Sharma. He uses his father’s name primarily to honour his experience in the business and pitches it along with his name for branding purposes. “OP Sharma is a big name. Together, we have performed 37,878 shows in India and abroad. I’d like to build on my father’s image,” he says. 

Sharma has performed several tricks in the past, like bringing a dinosaur to stage and making the Statue of Liberty disappear. But does he believe in magic? “Well, like I said, it’s all illusion, but my belief in illusions and the effort that goes into making it look real is for real,” he replies with the deft wordplay. 

This is his second tour to the city. He had earlier visited Chandigarh in 2006. This time, they have not been able to bag a slot at either Tagore Theatre or any of the city auditoriums. “For the kind of shows we do, we get more than 65 performers on stage and it’s ideal for an auditorium. However, this time around, we couldn’t get a slot at any of the halls here, so Neelam Theatre will do. The only thing comforting is that GST, on ticketed shows, works in our favour,” he opines.

With time magic shows have also evolved, believes Sharma. “Earlier, magic shows in India were restricted to streets and madaaris would perform hand-tricks. It was PC Sarkar who brought magic to the stage. Now, we are breaking away from the traditional magic practices and introducing new tricks that are more interactive and complex. My only grouse, however, is with the government and its lack of support for magicians,” Sharma complains. 

He says that he has often proposed the idea of introducing magic to the education system of India so that people could take it up as a career, but his appeals have fallen on deaf ears. Taking a cue from Kerala’s Gopinath Muthukad, a magician who founded the first magic academy of Asia at Thiruvananthapuram, Sharma now runs his own magic academy in Kanpur. It’s called Maya Mahal Magic Academy. 

“We have trained more than 200 people and taught them the art and science of magic. It may not be a very coveted choice of career in India, but abroad it pays well. I have performed in the States, Singapore, Japan, Mauritius, Dubai, Muscat, and Fiji; throughout, it has been a splendid experience,” he says, gushing with joy.

Magician OP Sharma Jr will be performing at Neelam Theatre, in Sector 17, on May 18 at 7.30 pm.

amarjot@tribunemail.com

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