Thursday, May 18, 2006

Jadugar Anand's magic show

The first day of my two-week vacation. And what a way to start off! Had a wonderful evening at the Town Hall in Bangalore today with Jadugar Anand and his team.

Performance of magic is all about perception. Making impossible possible is impossible. So magicians make the impossible seemingly possible.

Children enjoy it the best; because they are the least skeptical about reality, and different perceptions of reality. Adults too enjoy; because a willing, though temporary, suspension of disbelief is a highly satiating escape from hard realities.

The last time I saw a magic show was that of P C Sarkar in Hyderabad in 1998. I am a skeptic. (May be that is why landed the job I am in! For, someone said journalists need to be necessarily skeptics.) And, not surprisingly, I was quite unimpressed with the initial numbers that Anand performed. But he won me over gradually, I must concede. Everything that is unreal seemed real. The conflict in perception was as much interesting as puzzling.

The most dramatic one the "beauty and the beast", wherein a girl turns into a chimpanzee. There also this one, where an elephant appears from nowhere. And this gigantic animal got down from the stage, walked into the audience, along the aisle... I was sitting beside the aisle and never had I found myself so close to an elephant, that too inside a room.

Everything has become interactive. A magic show too. Anand got members of the audience participate in two of his numbers.

In one he asked a teenage girl to come up to the audience. And, she was (apparently hypnotized and) made to sleep suspended in air. That was by far the most impressive to me. Impressive also because, he used a member of the audience for it. "Your are the medium, but the magic is mine," Anand declared triumphantly.

And, of course, breaking free of closed enclosures and his disappearing acts, like that of Statue of Liberty, were also quite impressive.

Anand hit the headlines for riding a motorcycle blindfolded from Indore to Bhopal, a distance of 200 km in 210 minutes, in October 2004. Incidentally, he was denied permission to do that here in Bangalore last month. The reason was not stated.

Anand hails from Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh. It seems he learnt hypnotism from spiritual guru Rajneesh (Osho) who also hails from the same place. Anand's brother, Rajendra Awasthi is a noted writer in Hindi. Anand learnt magic at the age of seven, apparently inspired by street magicians, who used to get him ladoos from nowhere.

I am off to Kerala tomorrow.


  1. Reminds me of the PC Sarkar show I saw in the late 80s as a kid when we used to reside in Delhi.. :)

    Happy holidays!!

  2. Happy holidays pradeep sir. Hope you will write your Kerala experiences.

  3. Hope you are having a blast in God's own country. Do think of us less fortunate ones at work:(

  4. Nice blog post. Jadugar Anand I like your trick and the show is very good. Thank you for making laugh and surprised day for us.