Date:31/03/2005 URL:
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Here one minute, gone the next

Birds flying out of nowhere and innumerable saws splicing apart a girl

MAGICAL EVENING: Jadugar Anand and his troupe regaled Coimbatoreans with their mastery over illusion. Pics: K. Ananthan.

THAT'S WHAT magic shows have always been about. Children and adults alike never seem to tire of the sleight of hand and element of illusion involved in them. Only now, you get to watch spiced up, jazzier versions of the good ole' rope trick.

Girls are now cut using an electric saw instead of a gleaming manual one, but the improved quality of the background music and the laser beams slithering across the screen make all the difference, lending an eerie feel to the whole experience.

The old and the new

Jadugar Anand's show at the Corporation Kalaiarangam has a magical mix of the old and the new. Age-old tricks like getting birds to fly out of empty nets and converting reams of cloth into a fluffy white rabbit share the limelight with sequences such as `Beauty and the Beast' and one on how corruption has pervaded our lives.

In `Beauty... ', a young girl dressed in all finery is turned into a gnarling animal with just a swish of cloth. The one on corruption is to satisfy the magician's social responsibility. "Besides being a magician, I am also a citizen of the country and have to do my bit for it. I wanted to show how we have driven Mother India from her home due to corruption," he says.

These sequences also have a drizzle of magic in the form of Mother India vanishing from her home and the devil called corruption taking her place in a jiffy.

Anand's show has been drawing in the crowds. School children watch the show with their mouths agape even as their parents try hard not to show their excitement.

What is magic?

Anand defines magic as "a pleasing and amusing art of exhibition of skill and practice where the laws of nature are seemingly set aside for the sake of innocent entertainment." (A very serious explanation for something that leaves people in awe.)

"Today's magic is a mix of illusion and hypnotism. Thanks to digital technology, we've been able to keep pace with the rest of the world," he adds.

The leaning towards technology shows. When Ruchi, a class ten student of Kendriya Vidyalaya went up with a spring in her steps and came back a little dazed 10 minutes later, she did not know what hit her, went through her and finally lifted her. All she had was a photograph of Anand sending a sword through her neck. Thanks to a digital camera and a printer.

"We have to use technology for enhancing the show and to improve the art of presentation," says Anand.


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