Where’s the magic? Where’s the entertainment?

Vismayam 2008 saw over 750 magicians from India and abroad convene to Trivandrum. As always, the adherence to time was admirable and likened by many to the ways of the Indian Army! The overwhelming success of this well-organized event adds yet another feather in the cap of the Magic Academy, led ably by Gopinath Muthukad.

I am privileged to have been part of the august international jury, and use this forum to congratulate the winners of the competitions. Being a jury member for both preliminary and final rounds accorded me the chance to watch every single competition act.

The level of competition I must say was disappointing to say the least. The Best Entertainer competition was at best non-entertaining. Dariel Fitzkee once said, “While it is true that the audience may be there because he is a magician, it is even more true that his spectators are there because they expect to be entertained – entertained by magic”.

Hashim’s performance (along with a couple of others) was clearly in a league of its own. Truly, one of the very few acts that made the foreign magicians take notice; even state out loud “Finally! Some magic!”

Many may not like reading this, but seriously – Is this the best we can do? How many acts that appeared can consider competing at the forthcoming Magic Olympiad – FISM 2009 in China?

PS: This article originally appeared in the May 2008 issue of the VMN.