BANGALORE: The year 1934. A new kind of hero emerges. A hero in the ‘super’ league. Mandrake, a creation by Lee Falk, becomes a cult figure.
A magician with impossibly fast hypnotic skills, he captures young hearts as they wonder how on earth he does what he does. He creates magic.
Years roll by, and Mandrake continues to reign, and in one southern corner of India, a boy gorges on the comics and wishes he, too, could have such miraculous powers (what adults would call skills) and ‘become Mandrake’.
Nakul Shenoy, who wants to be called a mentalist and psychic entertainer rather than a magician, was that young boy. This Bangalore-based magician says, “I was always an avid reader and Mandrake was my idol. Also, when I was very young, around five years or so, I saw an exciting magic show. I think from then on I always wanted to be a magician.” After his first public performance in 1993, at the age of 15, he performed “standard magic” for 10 odd years. “I used to travel with a troupe and with a truckload of equipment.” But then he started getting disillusioned with this particular genre of magic and has since gone ‘Beyond Magic’ (that’s the name of his show) to psychological illusions and mind reading.
“There is a big difference between what we can call regular magic and what I do. Mainly, that kind of magic is very visual and involves many physical things. But here, people don’t see things. It’s just me and my audience.” He usually performs for corporates since, to read minds and for intense psychic performances, a select and closed audience is preferable. His main preparation, he says, is reading. “Except when I am driving, I read books related to my field whenever I get time.
My daily practice just happens whenever, and wherever I meet someone new because every mind is different and I try to read and interpret each one,” says Nakul.
Also, apart from intuition and instinct, which he feels are of paramount importance, he has to study and himself master body language and communication skills. Here his experience as an MS in Communication comes handy. In fact, Nakul feels that magic boosts confidence, improves communication skills, and can help in areas like memory. To that end he conducts ‘psychic skill’ workshops.
Nakul does not limit his magical skills to stage shows only. He ideated the Magic Space with fellow magicians like Prahlad Acharya, Giridhar Kamath and others in Bangalore. It is a place to talk, read, see, buy and live magic. It is a shop where you get magic equipment (reminds you of shops on Diagon Alley), and can read magic books or magazines, hang out with other ‘magical’ people. Also, you can learn magic at the workshops and camps there.
He is also a visiting faculty at the Academy of Magical Sciences in Trivandrum.
He smiles and says, “They are trying to project it like the Hogwarts of India.” Looks like this man has his hands full with work.
Give it what name you will — illusion, tricks, paranormal — this is one field that never loses its charm because of the element of mystery attached to it. You are almost always left wondering, ‘How?’ And that, folks, is the magic.