For nearly a century the Sorcars have taken magic to the masses. Provas and Pouroosh talk to Prince Frederick about carrying on the legacy

Magic is the chain of continuity for the Sorcars. Pouroosh Chandra Sorcar — a third-generation magician — believes it is impossible not to try to emulate the greatness of P.C. Sorcar Sr. Known as P.C. Sorcar (Master), 30-year-old Pouroosh can sing as well as play the piano and the drums and has an English rock album to his credit, but his multifarious music gifts never threatened to lure him away from the magic wand.

“Inheriting the Sorcarian legacy is an honour, why would I want to walk away from it?” quips Pouroosh. Provas Chandra Sorcar — Pouroosh's father — did walk away to try his hand at different professions, but ultimately came under its spell. Wherever he fled, he was reminded of the prestigious mantle he had to carry. “When I served as a pilot, my colleagues would request me to perform tricks. When I moved on to dancing, I was still badgered with requests to perform magic. I included a few tricks of illusion in my dance shows,” says Provas. After “flying off-course” for years, he realised magic was his true calling. When he began to don the sherwani and the turban — popularised by his father — and stepped on the stage as P.C. Sorcar (Young), Provas realised he did not have to give up his other talents, as he had feared, but could use them to add spice to his shows.

X-Ray Eyes, a trick where a blind-folded Provas makes mind-boggling mathematical calculations and deductions based on the figures and problems posed by members of the audience, draws upon his expertise in the subject. He holds a Master's degree in pure mathematics. Similarly, a mastery of Kathak lends fluidity to his movements. “During my grooming as a magician, my father encouraged me to learn Indian dance forms. He believed they brought elegance to stage illusions,” says Provas.

In his own way, young Pouroosh follows the Sorcarian tradition. When he was in college, he performed escape acts for a television channel. “It was out-of-line with our specialisation, which is stage illusion,” says Pouroosh. “On the stage, I innovate within the broad framework of tradition. Our tricks are performed under flat lights — a technology of the 1920s and the 1930s — because they illuminate the entire area and nothing around the subject is hidden from the audience. They lend authenticity to the tricks.”

With his father and his uncle — the renowned P.C. Sorcar Jr. — also carrying the banner, Pouroosh knows he has to evolve his own style to get noticed. He is working on a television show that will retrace the steps of his illustrious grandfather all the way to Akido and Tokyo. The senior Sorcar performed in many parts of the world, but shared a special relationship with the Japanese. For this show, Pouroosh is expected to perform in the towns and cities visited by the senior, especially those in Japan. He also hints at a film on magic where he will play his grandfather. He believes it will be a fitting tribute to P.C. Sorcar Sr. (1913-1971) in his birth centenary year.

Widening the reach of their school of magic in India is another feature of the centenary celebrations. “We are planning more branches around the country, including one in Chennai,” says the Sorcar scion.

Provas and Pouroosh are performing in Chennai at Rama Rao Kala Mandapam, Karnataka School, Habibullah Road, T. Nagar until June 3 at 7.15 p.m. every day, except for Sundays when there is an additional show at 4.15 p.m. For details, call 9941018686.

THIS DAY IN 1955

P.C. Sorcar Sr. wrote a series of articles for Sport & Pastime, a weekly brought out by The Hindu in the 1950s and 1960s. The first article was published on May 14, 1955. The articles, according to the announcement in the magazine, sought to “lift the veil off the mysterious subject of magic.” Below is a reproduction of one of his writings for Sport & Pastime