INDIA'S answer to Houdini


INDIA'S answer to Houdini

"PRACTICE, PRACTICE and practice — these are basic requirements to become a magician", says Prahalad Acharya, one of the popular magicians in India.

Mr. Acharya, who has been practising this art from his school days, says, "it is but an art of diverting people's attention.

Mr. Acharya, who was inspired by the tricks of Uday, a popular magician, learnt the art from him. Even today Mr. Acharya seeks Mr.Uday's advice and opinion before adopting a new trick.

Born in a purohit family, Mr. Acharya is the only person among his brothers to take to this profession. "I don't force anybody to follow me. But my wife spontaneously learnt this art from me and she is giving shows individually now", he says.

A law graduate basically, he has some knowledge in yakshagana, a popular dance form in Karnataka, which he performs during his shows. Thus his show is called `dramagic', a combination of drama and magic.

Mr. Acharya, who has so far given nearly 3000 shows, has presented programmes in almost all cities in the country and in several Gulf countries. Next year, he is likely to give shows in the South East and Mauritius.

Winning awards has always been a regular phenomenon in his 14-year-long career, which includes the `Magician of the Millenium' title, which was given for his Indian Basket Trick.

Known as Indian Houdini, Mr. Acharya won this name, breaking the chains, with which he was locked, in just 23 seconds during a State conference.

He classifies magic into four segments - close-up, conjuring, illusion and mega-illusion.

"Though the first three are performed by many, the last type is an expensive affair and you really need to be a master in the art to give such performances", Mr. Acharya says adding "a big team and a lot of equipments are also needed to give a mega-illusion performance".

Going down memory lane, he says, "initially, my parents thought it is just a pastime and child's interest. But, once when I started investing for the sake of the art they started protesting. Now I am popular and able to support 20 assistants and their families and they are happy".

"Right now, I am practising what is called `mask act'. In this trick I will be covered with a big cloth and every time when the cloth is removed, I will appear in different attires belonging to various States such as Punjabi, Tamil Nadu (in dhoti), Bengali, Kerala, etc., promoting national integration", says Mr. Acharya.

About his ambition, Mr. Acharya, also an expert in Ventriloquism (talking dolls) and shadow play, says, "I want to start an open-air theatre, where magic shows would be conducted round-the-clock on all 365 days. Apart from this, a school, like the one being run by the Sorcar family in Bengal and Gopinath Muthukkadu in Kerala, to teach magic".

"I don't charge anything from dedicated students. But for those who learn the art as a hobby I collect a paltry sum", he says talking about the fee for learning the art.

In my opinion, he says, "one should practise for at least two years to give public shows. But doing for small gatherings such as birthday parties, get-togethers, etc. a few months of practice will do".

Above all, for one to become a good magician, the best way is to divert the attention of the people sans even an iota of doubt, was his parting advice.


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