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There's MAGIC in the name

It was the magic of the family name that cast a spell on the youngest son of the legendary P.C. Sorcar and turned him into a magician too.

P.C. Sorcar Young, mathematician, aviator, and now magician. — Photos: Sampath Kumar G.P.

YOU COULD easily miss the small print, literally. The letters "YG" crawl under what's written in bold, "P.C. Sorcar", in the huge poster in front of Town Hall. The magic lies in the family name, in any case. The father was "the" P.C. Sorcar, who packaged Indian magic into an Orientalist theatre art and took it to international stage. His equally celebrated elder son is P.C. Sorcar (Junior). And the man currently performing in the city is his youngest son, P.C. Sorcar (Young).

It was really the weight of the family name that made P.C. Sorcar (Young) shed the dancer's costumes and don the magician's robes. He was doing pretty well as a professional Kathak dancer (he is a student of the well-known Uday Shankar and Kalu Shankar) when people began asking him how a Sorcar could be anything but a magician. "They expected some magic in my dance shows as well! I actually introduced one or two magic items in my shows under pressure. But it slowly dawned on me that I could as well turn a full time magician." In 1982 that he became a full-fledged magician and started doing his own shows.

Not that magic was alien to him at any point of time. As his elder brother once famously said, even the cat in the Sorcar family is a magician! Young would assist his father, and later his brother, in shows. A man of science (he holds a master's degree in applied mathematics) and an avid aviator (he holds both private and commercial pilot licenses), he was the technical consultant for many of their shows. He was, in fact, the key man behind P.C. Sorcar (Junior)'s spectacular feat of making the Taj Mahal disappear. (By the way, Young has offered to make our Vidhan Soudha disappear if we can find a sponsor for him!)

So, career shift was not so traumatic, though internal pressure was high to keep the family's name and honour intact. And all his other accomplishments, as a musician (he is a sitarist), aviator, and mathematician, have come in handy. He composes music and dance for his own shows and his sound technical background helps him come up with new tricks. "Magic is science, art, and a wholesome entertainment," he says. "A perfect magician should have a sixth sense of sorts. He should be able to guess what is coming next and be prepared for it within a split second."

But will a magic show, that has about it the feel of a company drama — in its sets, costumes, dance sequences, and theatricality of gestures — appeal to a world fed on computer games and action movies with breathtaking stunts? Will this ancient "wholesome entertainment" be pushed to small towns and villages just like company drama, and eventually pushed out of there too? No, insists Young. The magic of magic, he believes, will not wane because its appeal is rooted in the fundamental human nature. "We expect magic in every sphere of our lives. Don't we expect magical effects when we pray to god? Craving for magic is in human nature and that will never change."

In the meantime, Young's college-going son is slowly shaping himself into a magician — Pouroosh Sorcar, P.C. Sorcar for short! The appendage to the name is yet to be decided. The lad plans to keep the family tradition in tact, including the costume design. "It's become our trademark, how can I change it?" he asks. One can't help noticing the pride in the father's voice as he introduces the teenager son: "He is the next P.C. Sorcar, the ninth generation. He is the only male heir to the family name!"

Though women performing magic is not a taboo — grandmothers, mothers, aunts, and sisters in the family have been competent magicians — there has never been a Sorcar woman stage performer. But winds of change are blowing. P.C. Sorcar (Junior)'s daughter, Moubani, is now doing her own shows. But if not her gender, her initials are not quite right. So, the next P.C. Sorcar will anyway have to be Pouroosh. Come to think of it, could there have been a more appropriate name? Whoever said what's in a name hadn't heard of the Sorcar clan!

(P.C. Sorcar Young performs at Town Hall every day at 7 p.m. There is also a show at 3 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Call 56702868/ 5715818 for details.)


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