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Trick and treat: ‘Magicians can teach people a thing or two about godmen’

Under the banner of Prakash Magico (an ISO certified company) Sharma, his father and two brothers have organised more than 37,990 shows in India, Mauritius, Japan, Dubai, Singapore and the US.

punjab Updated: May 30, 2018 14:30 IST
Parina Sood
Parina Sood
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Trick and treat,Magicians,godmen
Magician OP Sharma Junior performing at Neelam Theatre in Sector 17, Chandigarh. The show is on till June 30. (Karun Sharma/HT)

The stage is set and as a man with a silver turban walks in, thunder rolls and lights flash. The audience holds its collective breath, waiting for the show to begin.

“People think magicians have special powers. This is a misconception. It is purely a science and technology based art,” says OP Sharma Junior, a magician from Kanpur, UP. Now 46, he discovered the world of magic at the tender age of three, assisting father OP Sharma Senior, also a magician, on stage. He remains Sharma’s biggest inspiration, the man who taught him all the tricks of the trade, pun intended.

Basically an illusionist, Sharma has even made an elephant disappear, something that he considers his biggest trick ever. “You need to have presence of mind when you do magic. The rest depends on your dedication.”

Under the banner of Prakash Magico (an ISO certified company) Sharma, his father and two brothers have organised more than 37,990 shows in India, Mauritius, Japan, Dubai, Singapore and the US.

“We have a crew of 200 members, out of whom 65 are on-stage performers. The investment cost of our set-up is Rs 6.5 crore, which includes our equipment. It takes 20 trucks to carry 250 tonnes of this set-up from one venue to another,” says Sharma. The daily running cost of this venture, which includes salaries, publicity, electricity, rent etc comes to Rs 1.75 lakh.

Though Sharma’s company is a profit making venture, one doesn’t see many people opting for magic as a full-fledged profession. “We need government’s support, both monetary and technological, to keep this traditional art form alive. Centres to teach people different forms of magic such as street magic, conjuring, illusion should be set up. Only the state of Kerala has an institute affiliated to their state university that offers certificate programmes in different forms of magic.”

In Sharma’s opinion, magic should be included as a subject in schools to fight the menace of fraud godmen. “This will make people aware of the tricks fake ‘babas’ play. Also, it will open avenues for children who want to take it up as a profession.”

There are other messages too from the magician with a degree in mechanical engineering, about female foeticide and substance abuse. He has also designed a ‘No Honking’ campaign for his shows in Chandigarh.

Talking to HT, Sharma fondly reminisces over his last tour to Chandigarh in 2006, when his father was honoured with a ‘Golden Crown’ by the International Brotherhood of Magicians, USA. “The then CM of Haryana, Bhupinder Singh Hooda, did the honours.” He is back to City Beautiful after 12 years with his famous “Indrajal”. The shows are running at Neelam Theatre, Sector 17, Chandigarh, up to June 30.

First Published: May 29, 2018 14:12 IST