Economic Times: Modern magic makes for a lucrative career, say performers

By Ipsita Basu

Aug 10, 2016

“Think of two shapes within each other. Think what colour each of them is.”

Pause. “Is it a yellow triangle, within an orange circle?” asks Aakarsh Bhat, to a baffled woman seated across the table from him. Next, he engages her in card tricks. A three of hearts has an arrow through it, a selected card changes colour and one even comes out of his pocket, with her signature on it. As the lady gathers her wits, Bhat, 29, an illusionist, leaves her with the souvenir of the signed card.

Welcome to the world of magic, sans the shiny costumes and comical theatrics on stage.Increasingly being engaged by restaurants, corporates, at conferences, bachelor parties and weddings, the new-age magicians in the city are much in demand. Their tricks include concepts on illusions, mentalism and mind reading, sleight of hand, among others.

Entertainers like Bhat are selftaught. He quit his conventional career to take this up as a fulltime profession. Why not, when opportunities are many and pay cheques for a proficient performer ranges from Rs 10,000 to Rs 2 lakh a show.

Stage or corporate acts usually last 45 minutes to an hour, while close up shows in a restaurant or a closed venue could vary from two to four hours.

Mind-reader and author of the book `Smart Course in Magic’, Nakul Shenoy , 38, has been performing for over a decade now. He juggles a consulting career along with his passion for mind reading. A communications professional and entrepreneur, his skills have extended into acts that involve thought leadership, product research and user experience. A second book titled `Make Magic to Life’ is on its way next year.” Since there are so many performers now, reinventing, customising, and being impromptu are important factors to stand out and keep one’s brand going,” says he. The seasoned performer and corporate speaker takes an annual trip to Las Vegas to connect with fellow magicians and reskill.

Secrecy being at the core of the profession, modern magicians have tightly-bound, invite-only groups where trade secrets are shared carefully. In some instances, popular acts or tricks can also be bought or traded within a community , for a price.

Allan Louie, 29, worked as an animator before taking to closeup magic, illusion and mentalism tricks. He currently performs in public, corporate shows and in popular restaurants in the city . Louie is glad that his passion could translate into a profession. In the last six months of performing in Bengaluru, Louie says, he has hardly bumped into 50 repeat customers.

“There are so many people out there to be entertained as Bengaluru is a growing city.Sometimes I do magic for random people, so that word gets around about my performances. I feel blessed to do what I love to do and make money out of it,” Louie adds.

Article reproduced from Modern magic makes for a lucrative career, say performers – Economic Times: ET Panache.