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Some magic, some truth



Magician Samrat Shankar and interviewer Pradeep Sardana.

IF YOU have lived your childhood a few years ago, watching a magic show must have been one of the many things you did as a child. But, ask the present-day Generation X kids, there is a strong possibility of a `No'. Magic show, well, we have much more interesting things to do... computer and video games, Harry Potter, VCDs, automated toys... blah, blah, blah.

"And that's where I want to make a difference," says Pradeep Sardana, the producer of a daily show on the art of magic on Doordarshan Bharti. Magic, Sardana says, is a dying skill in present-day India, particularly in urban areas, and is reeling under tremendous difficulties like mandatory payment of huge entertainment tax in many a state, challenges of new media of amusement, little governmental and societal patronage, etc.

"And that is why I have made the format of my show accordingly to give platform to not only magic tricks but also to its various difficulties faced by the pursuers of this art form," says this former journalist. Titled "Jadu Samrat Shankar Ka", this 30-minute Central Production of Doordarshan features well-known magician Samrat Shankar showing a trick or two for about 20 minutes followed by a question-answer session between the magician and Sardana about his life, the main national and international exponents of this ancient art besides throwing light on the tireless efforts of many a magic lover to keep it going.

"Also, within these few minutes of conversation, we want to tell people there is nothing magical about magic but simple tricks of the hand. Anyone interested in it can make it his or her career," the producer of the month-old programme says. Shankar, Sardana claims, is the only magician in the country who has done more than 18,000 mega shows, out of which about 12,000 were for charitable purposes like fund-raiser for the victims of Kargil war, Gujarat earthquake, droughts and floods.

SANGEETA BAROOAH PISHAROTY

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