CHAT A typical day for magician Cyril is beheading himself, hanging in mid-air or pulling out coins from fountains
He first encountered magic when he was six. “The magician took one of his gloves off. It turned into a bird, flew into the audience and then flew back at him. Next, he put a cloth over it and when he pulled it back and there was a woman. He then covered her and when he pulled back the cloth, she was gone,” recalls Cyril, now one of the world's best-known magicians and illusionists.
That was when he first fell in love with magic and now, after more than three decades, the chemistry remains magical. “I loved magic so much that I kept practising every single day. Everyone in my family got sick of my tricks and one day my school called my parents and asked them to stop allowing me to do it. So my playing cards were confiscated.”
Cyril had his first magic lessons when he was 10. “The person who took me to my first magic show gifted me 10 private lessons with a magician from Hollywood's Magic Castle. He taught me the basics of magic, like transporting and appearing. If I had to draw an analogy I would say it's a bit like learning the basic chords.” His passion landed him his first gig when he was 15.
“The job was for 50 dollars and it was the most amazing thing that could happen to a 15-year-old. Then I moved to Japan when I was 16, where I was asked to do small shows. Looking back, I realised that I had already become a professional. I simply loved doing magic so much that I never thought of anything else,” says the Tokyo-based, California-born star.
Now a typical day in Cyril's life consists of beheading himself, hanging in mid-air or pulling out coins from fountains, earning him millions of You Tube Hits, prime time airwaves and TV shows. Ask him what sets him apart from others in his ilk and he sums it up quite crisply, “Criss Angel is never coming to India”.
And Cyril is currently in India, visiting Mumbai and Delhi, to promote his new TV show ‘Cyril's Family Vacation'. “Someone like Criss Angel caters to an American audience. I have been living in Asia for over two decades. I love travelling, making new friends, learning about cultures and localizing my magic.”
This is Cyril's first trip to India, with whom he wants to develop a “long-term relationship”. “Magic is about taking a moment of someone's day and making them smile. It's not about fooling them or tricking them, it's about creating joy and wonderment.”
He draws his inspiration from this sense of joy. “I don't set at a desk and force the ideas out. I need to go out and have fun with people to get inspired to come up with new ideas. When I do, I write them in my secret book. Sometimes it takes years to develop a trick and sometimes it's quick.”
His new show, ‘Cyril's Family Vacation', is all about some good old family fun. “It's a departure from the other programmes that I have done. In this show, I basically take my family on vacation to Hawaii, where they play crazy magic tricks on unsuspecting tourists.”
“A lot of people don't know that the magical DNA runs in my family. You'll get to meet my cousin who has interesting gravitational skills, my uncle Richard who has interesting ways to get from one place to another and my grandma Magi, who can walk on water.”
Of course, it's not easy learning to do things like that, except, perhaps for high achieving saints. “Becoming a magician or an entertainer is hard work. It takes practise, dedication, patience and most importantly, love for the craft.”
‘Cyril's Family Vacation: Hawaii Edition' premieres on June 17 at 8.30 pm on AXN.