The Indian Express: Magic flouts convention, casts a spell of education

By Sudeshna Chatterjee

The Indian Express
Mumbai

April 30, 2000: Imagine magic as anything more than entertainment? Nakul Shenoy (22), a research student from Karnataka has, after a two-year study on audience perception of messages communicated through magic, pointed out that magic enters the realm of education as well, and in a big way too. “A majority of the subjects believed magic performs the twin functions of entertainment (78%) and education (67%),” Shenoy stressed at a three-day magic convention organised by the city-based Society of Indian Magicians (SIM) that concluded today.

“There is a magician in Taiwan who uses magic tricks to teach English language to children. We had successfully used magic here as part of an election awareness campaign,” said Shenoy, who is secretary of the Magic and Allied Arts Developement and Research Institute, Udipi, Karnataka.

Sure about the effectiveness of magic in building up social awareness about different issues, Shenoy, also an MS student in Communications from the Manipal Institute of Communications, highlighted the preliminary findings of a research on a hundred subjects which “showed that the spectators not only understood the trick and the message but remembered it too. There are magicians who have changed their entire show to suit the requirements of one message — be it for AIDS awareness or drug prevention,” he said.

In mid-May, Shenoy said, the SIM would launch its portal on magic and magicians in India called www.indianmagique.org. The portal, he added, would have a directory of magicians and articles aimed at providing assistance to magicians with reference to presentation, building routines or acts or even buying a particular trick or illusion.

The SIM convention, the fourth in the more than 60-year-old history of the Society, also had a lecture-cum-demonstration by magician Meenakshi Sundaram on usage of chemical ingredients for magic. He said use of such ingredients explained “water changing to milk, the vanishing of whisky or simply the vanishing of a colour.” R Vasani from Jamshedpur, one of the participants, claimed to be the only one to perform at Tihar Jail, while M P Hasim from Kozhikode, Kerala, won applause simply by a demonstration of his hand skills.

The venue of the convention, the Navinbhai Thakkar Auditorium, Vile Parle, had attractive stalls put up by different dealers sporting colourful accessories associated with magic. There were also several competitions where young kids participated. And if the president of the meet, magician Mandar Patil is to be believed, compared to their earlier conventions, the number of child artistes was not only more but even their performance was better.

 

Article reproduced from Magic flouts convention, casts a spell of education – Indian Express, 01 May 2000