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A magical journey across the world

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Magic as art: Magicians K. Lal (left) and Junior K. Lal (right) in Chennai.
Magic as art: Magicians K. Lal (left) and Junior K. Lal (right) in Chennai.

Deepa H. Ramakrishnan

Father-son duo in city with a host of new tricks to enthral audiences

CHENNAI: A few magical chants and out of thin air appears a grand set from Egypt. In just two and a half hours, the K. Lals (senior and junior) take you on a world tour with their magic show.

Every evening from 7 p.m., they slice people into two, make girls levitate in the air, make Goddess Durga emerge from a mirror, make a ship appear and disappear and create new illusions.

Their show, being organised by T.V.K. Cultural Academy at Raja Annamalai Mandram in Broadway, is on till June 19. There is also a show at 4 p.m. on weekends.

It is nothing less than a caravan when the Lal’s set out to perform at different locations across the country. They are accompanied by 50 artists and bring along four truck loads of props, which provide colourful backdrops to their show and tricks.

“We believe in providing clean magic … wholesome family entertainment. There is nothing to scare children or vulgar in our performances. We have conducted over 21,000 shows, which is a record. I have struggled a lot to develop magic into an art … instead of being perceived as a mere trick show,” explained the 84-year-old K. Lal (senior).

Magic, as he explains, is a combination of art, science, optical illusion and hypnotism. “This is my seventh visit to Chennai. The new tricks we have brought this time include making the Statue of Liberty disappear, making a car with the passengers inside vanish and fighting a dangerous dragon. We work on some tricks for years before presenting to the audience.”

He was born in Gujarat to a family of merchants. He learnt the ropes of magic from masters in Kolkata. “We now plan to open an institute in Gujarat to teach magic. People from all over the world have been clamouring to learn magic.”

While his son K. Lal (junior) followed in his footsteps, his grandson did not choose to become a magician. “A magician’s life is hard … when we keep doing shows there is no time for family and socialising. We have to work constantly, think of new tricks and keep ourselves fit. The show must go on,” Mr. Lal (junior) pointed out.

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