Saturday, August 30, 2007

New breed of MAGICIANS
Gone are the days of gaudily dressed performers with heavy make-up as stylish GenNext wizards cast their spell, writes Ankita Malik

Earlier, there were not many sources of entertainment. So people easily believed what you did. But now the audience is very intelligent
ó Ugesh Sarcar

Ugesh Sarcar presents a TV show on magic
Ugesh Sarcar presents a TV show on magic

Shankar Junior during a stage performance
Shankar Junior during a stage performance

MAGIC no longer means producing rabbits from a hat or different coloured flowers from a vase. Magic as an art and form of entertainment has undergone a makeover with stylish, young magicians dressed in designer wear, taking the centrestage to cast a spell on the audience.

Ugesh Sarcar and Shankar Junior are the second generation of magicians who are taking forward the legacy their fathers had set up but with a difference.

"For me, magic is an art and much more than cutting people into halves or floating them in the air. In short, defining logic is magic," says Ugesh. Shankar Junior opines: "Magic is an artistic presentation of science with a little glamour added to it."

The magical art, they both feel, has undergone tremendous change. "Our all-new look is a credit to the change and itself speaks volumes", says Shankar Junior. "The gaudy dresses and loud make-up of yesteryear appeals no more to people", he adds.

"You find new looks on TV every now and then. If we wear the old style, no one will look up to us. So we had to do a makeover and be as jazzy as the GenNext today," says Shankar. It is not only the looks. The art has also changed.

"Earlier, there were very low sources of entertainment. So people easily believed what you did. But now my audience is very intelligent. You cannot easily pass the test," Ugesh says.

"Whatever you did before was taken as superstition and there was no inquisitiveness. But now people relate to things and expect crazy things out of you," he adds. "The magicians before were thought to possess supernatural powers. So they were able to do things. But now it is not so. Even the greatest magic has now been explained," Shankar points out.

"Magic, like other forms of entertainment, has become personalised. You have to reach out to people yourself to attract them", says Ugesh.

"Thatís why in my magic there are just three things ó I, me and myself ó and for my tricks I choose common people so that I can connect with them."

"Connecting with people is very important. After all, it is for them you are performing. You need to change accordingly so that they feel it is just for them," says Shankar.

Magic has now reached TV with Ugesh Sarcar presenting it in a TV show. "Presenting a complete show twice a week on magic is a new concept. You need to have new ideas and new tricks in a few seconds," says Ugesh.

"On stage, you get time to prepare as well as do the entire set up. But on TV I donít even know on whom I am going to play my next trick on," he adds.

For Shankar, performing on stage is more difficult because it is live and "you cannot edit things if they go wrong. You need to concentrate on all angles."

"There is a whole bifurcation between TV and stage tricks. You can rarely perform on stage what you can do on TV and vice-versa. You need a whole set-up for stage and as well be spontaneous in interacting," Shankar says.

Is the art losing its charm? They both donít agree. "The sense of wonder it has does not exist in any other entertainment. So people are always enthralled by it," says Shankar.

"People need a change from the usual boredom of entertainment. So it acts as a magical remedy for them," says Ugesh.

Do children of magicians only practice magic? "No. It is not so. You will find many magicians whose parents were not in the same profession. It all depends on how the magician nourishes the capability of doing magic. After all, we all do magic, may be not by tricks but by eyes," says Shankar. ó PTI