Magical tour

EVEN AFTER lavishing descriptions on the Jadugar Anand show (on at Kamaraj Arangam), you find yourself looking for one more. With diverse elements filling the two-and-a-half-hour show, it has something in it for toddler, grandpa and the others in-between.

Even an obdurate cynic may be forced to take note of an illusion or whatever it is, where a woman is shut in what can be called a cupboard divided into four flexible boxes, which can be turned and positioned in opposite directions. Two apertures allow a toe and the face to be visible. Members of the audience are invited to check if these are real. Anand then proceeds to slip three blades through the cupboard and does the unimaginable: he turns the boxes out, positioning them in a zig-zag line. The woman's head is in one box, the torso in another, the hips in another and the legs in the last one. With the audience watching with awe, he gives the mike to a spectator and asks her to check if the woman in the box is actually singing. "Pardesi, Pardesi" flows across the auditorium, the witness testifies to the authenticity of the voice, and the rest of the audience is also convinced.

To ensure credibility, Anand invites them to check the equipment he uses before performing a trick; and many are performed with one or more spectators as his subjects. Interestingly, he performs the much publicised "elephant vanishing act" along with the audience. After the pachyderm Lakshmi majestically walks down the aisle and on to the stage, Anand takes a seat along with the audience and with them, counts to three. Unhappy with the first attempt, he tells them "this volume will not do," suggesting that it is not enough for even a mosquito to vanish. With the numbers counted again, but with more gusto, there is a flicker of light, a plume of smoke and a sheet of darkness, and wham! the elephant has vanished.

Kids love it

There are many comments following the trick. The spectator in the next seat whispers, "This can be explained by physics. You know, the screen... " Call it what you will. A simple illusion. Just another trick. But the children are absolutely enthused by the elephant vanishing act. As the show proceeds, they have more fun, with frolicsome dwarfs and other droll characters. The little ones seem to enjoy the common tricks such as netting pigeons and caging them, whipping out "endless" yards of a variegated sari and turning a dove into a dog more than the complex acts such as "Bharat Mata Temple" which has songs and a storyline that dwells on "corruption and bribery."

On the downside, the show opens to blinding shimmer provided by huge draperies and laser beams; they are more of a hindrance than help. While the sound of the orchestra meshes well, for the most part, with the images, the commentary, most of which is in Tamil, is jarring. However, these are minor shortcomings in an otherwise well-rounded show.


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