Indian magicians blow my mind: American illusionist

July 27th, 2010 - 10:27 am ICT by IANS  

Michael Jackson By Priyanka Sharma
New Delhi, July 27 (IANS) Renowned American illusionist Franz Harary, who once made the Taj Mahal disappear, says Indian magicians have no money, no technology, but their magic “blows my mind”.

“Magic started in India around 5,000 years ago and eventually became popular. But shortly after it was invented, it became stagnant. There is a whole lot of it to come out,” Franz, 45, told IANS over phone from Mumbai. “About 250-300 years ago it came over to the US.”

Harary, who has made several friends in India and frequently comes visiting, says the country has immense talent.

“About 12 years ago, I met a group of magicians who live in Shadipur in New Delhi. They are just unbelievable. They just blew my mind. They have nothing - no money, no technology and their magic is stronger than mine. What they do blows everything I do, leaving all the research and money I put behind,” he said.

“They tap into the core of the psychology of what makes Indian magic work. Their approach is real and not an illusion. When I saw it, I was surprised. It made me rethink everything I do.

“For the past 12 years I’ve been observing them and it has made me revise my own magic. They have helped me more than I have helped them,” he added.

Franz had been doing magic since the age of 13. He aspired to be a singer and dancer and used to design illusions as hobby. However, his commercial breakthrough happened at the age of 21 when he initiated a stage illusion for Michael Jackson’s 1984 Victory tour.

He made Jackson levitate and disappear on one side of the stage to reappear with his brothers on the other side.

Harary is here to judge STAR One’s reality show “India’s Magic Star”. He feels the show would help revive Indian magic.

“When I heard about the show, I felt it was an amazing opportunity to take everything that I have learned and developed as a Western illusionist and bring it right back to where it all began,” he said.

“Today, all of them (Indian magicians) are seen doing magic that was invented by my friends. They all look like American magicians from Las Vegas who happen to be Indian. I felt this is the opportunity to tell them: guys, you got to get up. I want to help them realise who they are and what you are and what you can do.”

Franz says he is ready to do anything for the entire culture to regain its position in India.

“This is not about just a television show; it is much bigger than this. It’s an attempt that the entire culture regain its position. I love India, I love everything that Indian magic stands for. Anything that I can do and in whatever way I am open for all that,” he said.

Franz has created illusions for Michael Jackson, Snoop Dogg, Cher, Steven Spielberg and even Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan during an awards function. And Salman Khan is next on his wishlist now.

“I had once made Shah Rukh disappear from one side of the stage and later he appeared on the other side. I would love to create a similar illusion for Salman Khan,” he said.

Franz signed off saying, “We are in talks for opening something in India that would be absolutely amazing. It will be based on my magic and the Indian magic and it would be the first of its kind on the planet. You would be able to go and spend a day there.”

(Priyanka Sharma can be contacted at priyanka.s@ians.in)

–Indo-Asian News Service

Pr/ar/pgb

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