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The great Indian white collar trick

In order to conjure up a better economic reality, magicians are turning to the corporate world for sustenance, finds Manoj Sharma.

india Updated: Nov 02, 2008 00:56 IST
Manoj Sharma

Upendra Thakur, 34, is quite proud of being a magician — in fact, he calls himself a ‘corporate magician.’ And why not? Today, he is sought after by many corporate houses for product launches and promotional activities. We have to wait for Thakur as he is busy working on his laptop, replying to an Rs 70,000 offer he has just received from NTPC. But it hasn’t always been fun and games. “I have worked as a salesman and a doctor’s assistant. I took up magic in 1999 when the company I worked with closed down in 1999,” says Thakur.

Having failed to find another job, Thakur started doing magic shows with a magician in Delhi, who gave him Rs 50 per show.

He also learnt quite a few tricks from a businessman who frequented the clinic where he worked in Bhagalpur. “ Though he was a businessman, he knew more tricks than many famous magicians I know. He was my Guru and it was he who got me interested in magic,” says Thakur who has worked for companies such as Hindustan Lever Limited, Motoroala, Whirlpool, Planet M, etc. Today he charges between 25,000 to 1 lakh for a corporate show and does at least 10 shows a months. “I mostly work for big companies, not everyone can afford me,” he says. He also has a Rs 1.5 lakh monthly contract with Unitech for performing magic shows at their Adventure Island in Delhi. No wonder he is a contented man.

Thakur is quite frank when it comes to describing his ‘art’. “Magic is merely sleight of hand and comes with practice,” he says.

Thakur rues the fact that magic is not treated as a fine art in India and magicians do not get the respect they deserve.

“When I took up magic, everyone taunted my parents that I had become a madari. Even my in-laws had to face a lot of ridicule for marrying their daughter off to a madari. Now, everyone knows that the madari has made it big in life. It’s all god’s magic,” says Thakur, his face brimming with pride.