Friday, 31 August 2007

IT'S JUST AN ILLUSION

“Harry Potter is a copied concept. You should first think about our ancient characters like Kach and Devjani. You should think about Shukracharya than what Ms Rowling has been brainwashing people with”. World famous magician P C Sorcar Junior was specific about the Harry mania.

I asked him about the Hogwarts School and Sorcar minced no words. “This is a problem with us. We go by what the British have told us. The history we learn about our nation and the world was written by British and they wrote it to serve their purpose”, Sorcar said.

Magic has been part of Socar’s life since his childhood. “If you wouldn’t have been magician, would you have been, say, physicist?” I asked the son of P C Sorcar Senior – the Father of Indian Magic. I knew what he would be saying. Sorcar Junior “cannot think of anything but magic” in his life.

Speaking from Nellore in between his prolonged magic-tour of Andhra Pradesh state (India), Sorcar shared his views about magic. “Everything is magic. We are all magicians”, he said in his distinct style of speaking. “An artist, when draws a rose, becomes magician through his work when the flower looks so real that you could almost smell it – touch it – feel it. Similarly, poets and writers are magicians of words. Magic is a high-level art form”, Sorcar was specific.

As a child I have watched some magicians performing. But, honestly, wasn’t too impressed. I took this opportunity to ask the super magician to specifically define magic. Sorcar talked about infinity. “Through magic we can try to reach the realm of infinity. But it is not possible. Even my father could not reach there”, he said. “Magic is part of fantasy. Anything we cannot decipher, becomes magic”, he added. Could be, I thought. That I am surviving without the radio studios – isn’t this a magic too?

Sorcar has been planning a Magic University in the suburbs of Calcutta. I mentioned this and he shared his vision. The university would be Sorcar’s “initiative to pass on the skills of Indrajaal Vidya ” that he has achieved “to next generation of magicians”. These upcoming magicians include Socar’s three daughters – Maneka, Moubani and Mumtaj. “They will have to prove their mettle. I am very satisfied with what they have been doing”, the doting father did not hide his affection for the threesome. One thing that would be part of his Magic university project is to document the skills of magicians all over the country who go unrecognised. “That’s my little effort to tell the world about those who sincerely carry forward the art”, Sorcar said with all humility.

Along with this he has plans to launch a restaurant “where magic would be the main element and food will be secondary”. I asked Sorcar to elaborate. “I won’t tell you at all”, Sorcar clearly sounded mischievous. “But yes – there would be some visual illusion to entertain. The ultimate aim is to remove the superstitions about ghosts through entertainment”, he gave away a little of his secrets.

His declared philosophy deals with maya or illusion. And there’s an element of spirituality in Sorcar’s concept of magic. I quizzed him a bit. Sorcar replied elaborately. “You have to understand para-psychology to appreciate my ideas. So far as maya is concerned – our philosophy says it clearly – nothing in this world is real. I apply that concept through the illusions during my performance. There’s nothing unscientific about this idea. I am a man of science and as you know I was instrumental in unmasking high-profile spiritual frauds. But I am not against religion. That’s why my shows begin with a vandana. Let me put it clearly to you we do not know everything and I do not have any concrete statement about god but I do not believe god created us. We have to accept Darwin’s theory origin of species. However, I must say – long before Darwin – our shastras and puranas had told us about the origin of creations through some examples”, he said.

In the same context he cited the mantras used by the pious souls. “You must understand the meaning of these mantras. If you can decipher them – you would know they are all science-based. But many of us utter them without truly understanding what those words imply’, Sorcar added.

The man who brought in modernity in Indian magic has been closely associated with several philanthropic activities. “But I would not like to tell you what exactly I do. That would mean publicity. Simply put – I do not want any coveted award for little things I do to help others”, he stopped me there.

I then mentioned Samrat who has been part of the Sorcar family for almost 24 years. “Samrat was an African lion whom we got from Spain. He performed in our shows and lived in our precinct in Baruipur (West Bengal, India). He died out of natural causes. Before that however, we got him an African lioness. We have one of their offspring named Sultan. He is like my own child”, the father came out again.

During our conversation there have been moments when Sorcar did not hide his disgust about certain institutions – which he said have done nothing to promote the art of magic. “But, they don’t matter to me. Tell me why would you call from such a long distance to talk to me? It’s the appreciation of people that I cherish – like the affection of cancer patients of Mumbai who preferred PC Sorcar Junior’s magic to some other event. There cannot be nothing like the happiness in their eyes that I saw after my show”, the caring nature of the magician became larger than the costume, make-up and stage skills.