The late Vazhakkunnam Neelakantan Namboodiripad, the patriarch of magic in the State, could not have been paid a better tribute than a visual commemoration in the form of a documentary produced by his disciple.

`Prof. Vazhakkunnam, born in an orthodox Namboodiri `illam' at Thiruvegappura, near Pattambi,' is considered to be the `guru' of magic by contemporary magicians like Gopinath Muthukad.

The 12-minute `Manthrika Muthachan,' presented by Muthukad's Magic Academy that was screened at the Press Club here on Thursday, captures the life and the art practised by the legendary magician.

"We, the contemporary magicians, are indebted to Prof. Vazhakunnam for his efforts to bring the magic show from the streets to the public stage," said Muthukad. The docu-fiction based on the life of a magician, was perhaps, the first such endeavour in the country, he said.

The documentary begins with a brief introduction by poet O.N.V. Kurup, patron of the academy.

The docu-fiction tracks the transformation of a boy, enthralled by the sleight of hand of a magician who had performed at the `illam' into a magician of versatility.

Prof. Vazhakkunnam's six-decade long devotion to magic is highlighted through narratives and visuals.

His son, K.C. Thulasidas, and daughter, K.C. Sumathinarayanan, share the memories of their father.

The work shows how the magician captivated children with his chalices with unbelievable dexterity.

The script of the docu-fiction, written by Sreekanth Kottakkal, is narrated by Aliyar.

The videography is by Jithu Kolayad.

Muthukad told reporters that the documentary would be released at Thalassery on February 9 in connection with the 24th Vazhakkunnam Smaraka Yugami All-Kerala Magic Show at Sangamam Auditorium.

The programme will be organised by the Malabar Magic Circle in association with the Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Akademi.

As many as 130 magicians belonging to different age groups are expected to participate in the competition, he said.

Magicians from Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu will also participate in the function.

The closing ceremony will feature magic shows. Entry to the venue will be restricted through pass.