'I am a magician... not a godman'
P.C. Sorcar Jr. --Photo: K.R. Deepak
Pulling out a rabbit from the hat or a changing a pack of cards to a bunch of roses are chicken to him. Ask him to dissolve the Taj Mahal into thin air or make a passing train vanish, he will do it with a mere sway of his wand. You guessed it right! He is none other than Prodip Chandra Sorcar or fondly known as P.C. Sorcar Jr., the chip off the old block and India's greatest magician, P.C. Sorcar Sr.
For the junior Sorcar, magic is very much in his gene, as the art has been practised by his family for eight generations. His forefather Keshav Chandra had performed the Great Indian Rope Trick in the court of Moghul Emperor Jehangir.
Sorcar Jr. learnt his early tricks against the will of his father, surreptitiously peeping through the keyhole of his practice room. But how can a mere wooden door stop the urge that has been flowing in his veins? Seeing his father performing and practising, the lad picked up the nuances of the ancient art. He further developed the skill by exploring the world beyond that closed door in the absence of his father whom he worshipped as his mentor.
"Though I consider my father as my guru and the greatest magician, at times, I feel that he had a dual personality, one on stage and one at home. And I always liked and loved the one on stage and dreaded the other. On stage, he was a totally different P.C. Sorcar, always smiling and laughing and full of exuberance, but he was irascible at home. Always after my homework and habits, he was dead against my taking up the art of magic. But by the time I went to college I was already giving private performances without his knowledge," says the junior.
The father approved the son as a performer when he performed the daring magical feat of coming out of a sealed wooden box that was thrown into the Bay of Bengal in 1969. That very feat also catapulted him into the world of magic and from that day he started assisting his father officially. By this time he had acquired his dual degrees in art and science and completed Master of Psychology from Calcutta University.
The year 1971 was both disastrous and eventful for the upcoming magician. Sorcar Sr. suffered a massive heart attack while performing in Japan, and before he breathed his last on the stage that he dearly loved, announced that his son Prodip would take over his mantle and the show would go on.
Continuing the legacy of the show that was christened as `INDRAjal' by the senior he started to perform all around the globe in his own flamboyant style with a lot of special effects. That later became the character of his shows.
Sorcar always has a few aces up his sleeves and in every show, be it for the celebrities or for the children in an orphanage, be it national or international, he gives something new to his spectators.
His open air acts like vanishing Taj and Victoria memorial, dissolving the train into thin air, the great Indian rope trick, driving blindfolded in a busy New York street, death- defying escape underwater and getting crushed under a road roller are considered to be among the best in the world.
"Magic evolves in the mind of the spectators. It is more to do with the psychology of the people. When they fail to build a cognizable explanation of the `secrets' of magic, they submit themselves to the world of fantasies and sorcery. The world itself is an illusion and I am trying to create an illusion within that illusion," says Sorcar.
He further adds that magic is closely associated with science. "It is the science of virtual reality. Had my forefather given a cell phone to Jehangir and made him speak to his wife, he would have gifted the Kohinoor to him. Yesterday's magic is today's science and today's magic is tomorrow's science".
Sorcar feels that relating to the spectators is more important than doing some tricks on stage. "The first thing I do in any of my shows is to understand the mindset of the spectators. Depending on that I alter my show plans on stage to give the crowd the best. The most important part in a magic show is its presentation. A good magician should be a good performing artiste and he should be in a position not only to engross the audience with his act but also involve them in the show."
Commenting on divine powers and yogic mysticism that revolve around the art he says, "Divinity is in the heart and as far as the physical power of yoga is concerned it has already been scientifically evaluated. But there is something more than that in yoga: it is the psychic power. The power to control one's mind, through which a lot of energy can be drawn, is tapped by most of the so-called godmen and with the help of a few magical tricks they take the people for a ride. But such powers have nothing to do with magic in its true sense."
Sorcar who has got a philanthropic bent of mind often gives free performances to raise funds for the underprivileged, especially children. He has designed an exclusive item for them, `heart and art', wherein he momentarily cures a physically handicapped child or unites one with his lost granny. Asked if he could do it permanently, he replied candidly, "I wish I could do it. It is for a few seconds or minutes. But I love to see that glee in their face for that brief period. I am a magician, not a godman."
The master conjurer has got a unique sense of humour. On his source of inspiration, he seriously replied: "My main source is my father and the next are the ants. Their feverish pace of work inspires me to work harder, for there is long way to go."
In spite of all the work and busy schedule, Sorcar is a total family man and he loves to spend time with his wife Joyshree and his three daughters in their cosy home at Ballygunge in Kolkata. He is also writing a book on the history of Indian magic.
P.C. Sorcar Jr. is at present on a performance tour to the City of Destiny and Vizagites are in for some of his Houdini acts.
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