For India’s new-age illusionist, Neel Madhav, who combines magic with mentalism, neuro-linguistic programming and criminology, magic is a life hack, or so he says. The 23-year-old, who believes that everybody can do magic, is out with his debut book You Got Magic, a first of its series with Penguin Random House India. While he conducts corporate shows and has been part of TED talks, he also has an ongoing show on a lifestyle channel.
In the book, Neel brings to the fore some wacky and extraordinary tricks for dinner parties, clubs, meetings, apart from tracing his journey right from his teenage years. Simple yet innovative, these sleights of hand, or ‘Neelusions’, are coupled with classic card tricks, and each stunt is brought to life with instructions and photographs.“It’s India’s first legit magic book. Not just card tricks, there’s coin tricks too. It also covers my magical experience across India apart from some fun stories that I have penned down back from my school in Dehradun, which has made me who I am today,” he says.
Book cover of You Got Magic by Neel Madhav
Neel, who calls himself a global citizen, comes from a family of investment bankers, and says that it wasn’t an easy decision for him to become a magician.In 2010, he met Jason Randal in Boston and was impressed by his tricks. A book given by him was life changing for Neel.“I was blown away seeing him perform a few tricks. He had the power to make me forget my worries. I wanted to do something like that.I had to really work my way through it with lots of practice. I used to practise five hours every day.”
Recalling another incident, he shares, “I was in Goa when I met James Randi around three years back, a really big name in magic. We spoke for hours at a stretch. After our conversation, he told my father that what I’d achieved in 2-3 years, people learn in 7-8 years. That showed my father that I was not taking this as just a hobby.”
Neel says that magic changes lives. Ask him how, and he says, “It allows you to be the best that you can. I don’t want people to believe that I have got magic, but you have got magic. Magic is fascinating for everyone. It’s just a matter of fact as to who goes forward and takes it as a profession. In India, everyone wants to be an engineer, doctor, investment banker. Magic in India isn’t a genre. For me, it’s about taking an art form and recreating into something it should be. I am less interested in performing a trick, rather than wanting to have a certain effect on people as a result of that trick.”