The present generation may be hooked to the Harry Potter books and movies, but the good old magic show no longer casts its spell on them.
Magic has been robbed of its audience, thanks to television and Internet, some of the top magicians from across the world who are in the Capital City to participate in the ongoing International Magic Festival at Rabindra Mandap rued.
“Magic is a dying skill, reeling under serious difficulties like high entertainment tax in many States, challenges of new media coupled with little patronage from government,” said Shelton Jayasekara, a popular magician from Sri Lanka.
There is a dire need to revive the art form. Concerted efforts are required from all quarters to promote and reignite interest in magic, particularly among the younger generation.
The three-day magic festival that was inaugurated on Monday is an attempt to provide a platform to not just magic tricks, but also the pursuers of this art form who are facing various difficulties in keeping it alive.
Organised by All Utkal Magicians Club, Odisha, the event has seen participation of over 250 delegates coming from different parts of the world.
S Chandran, a Singapore-based magician, who along with his magician wife performed illusion tricks at the festival, said the art is phasing out with people finding indulgence in other amusement.
“Magic is failing to enthrall the audience anymore. Organisers turn down magic shows as they feel it is not lucrative,” he said.
The performers feel magic should reorient itself to attract the audience back to the shows.
“Constant evolution is the mantra. In my shows, I combine the traditional tricks with innovation.”
“The surprise element is vital to holding the audience.Once that ceases, you are down and out,” said Kristy, a magician from Russia.
However, Kristy, Shelton, Chandran and other magicians like them are happy with the warm response that they have received from the audience as well as the hosts in Bhubaneswar.
Meanwhile, on the second day of the festival, apart from magic shows, there were competitions like conjuring for both senior and junior magicians, close-up and madari (street magic).
Officials of the Odisha Tourism, who are supporting the festival, said such initiatives aims at preventing the age-old art from fading into oblivion.