Magician Javed Khan emerged as the winner of the talent reality show, India’s Got Talent season 8, and took home Rs 25 lakh prize money and a car. The 27-year-old hails from a religious family in Sirohi, Rajasthan, but is settled in Mumbai. An IT technician by profession, the IGT winner spoke exclusively to HT about his struggle, his preparation for the show and his aim to raise the level of magic in India. Excerpts: What major change have you seen in the attitude of people post the show? I come from Sirohi in Rajasthan. The people of my village are very narrow-minded including my parents who are very religious and objected to my art. I could not take out cards even in a room or while going for practice. I had to practice day and night and used to carry my cards everywhere. If people saw cards in my hand, they would say that I am gambling, which is haraam in our religion. Everyone objected to it, but I followed my passion. My parents also didn’t speak to me for around two years and would often taunt me. Tell us about your journey. While watching India’s Got Talent on television in 2015, they saw a participant’s winning moment on stage and said, “The parents of this participant would have been so proud that their child has won the show.” That moment, I decided that I will also audition for the show and would try to win. I took one whole year and saw two-three seasons and analysed the level of magic performed on the IGT stage. I prepared throughout the year to create something that they had never seen on the show. And then I applied this year and got selected. Javed Khan celebrating his victoryHow did you prepare for the competition? I have been learning magic for the last four and a half years. Like the problem solving and plan of action I follow in my IT zone, I used to strategise about what kind of visual I would present on stage, would look into the disadvantages and what was lacking in a magician’s act that he could not make it to the final. I used to induce those missing things in my act. What is the most essential element required to learn magic? My style is more about creating an impact on the audience and the judges. It doesn’t matter if your prop is a marker or card or a big stage. My strategy is to offer an experience to audience members; this is called organic magic. One must have his own style. You live in Mumbai. Tell us something about your life there? It’s a struggle in itself to live in Patanwadi in Mumbai. My father is a rickshaw driver. We live in a rented house in a chawl. This motivated me to lead a better life. The struggle made me follow my dream and win a car. I see the struggle as it served as a motivation for my victory. What are your future plans? Javed Khan with the trophy and the cheque. I have some concepts and ideas that were on my mind since quite some time. Since I have now got such an exposure, I have to do a lot in life. I have to make video series on YouTube. Abroad, it’s seen as an art form and people take it seriously, especially the youngsters, but it’s not considered an art form in India. I have to raise the level of magic in India. What do you plan to do with the prize money? I want to give my parents a better life. I hope I can buy a small house on loan and give some comfort to my parents. You were pressurised to get married during your graduation days. Your longtime engagement was called off and you went into depression. When do you plan to get married now? That is up to my parents, they will decide and it may happen soon. Tell us something special about special about the judges. I used to think of them only as celebrities but when I went on the show, I found them very supportive, sporty, genuine and nice. If you are talented, they respect the act. I just had to entertain them to get their attention. Kirron Kher represents cultural diversity and would focus on my style. Karan Johar talks about how you present your tricks. Malaika’s favourite category is magic so she always used to support it.