Illusion diffusion: Mentalist Kunal Newar opens up about his career and lots more

From engineering to mentalism, Kunal talks about the change of career path, the future of mentalism in India and what we can expect from him in 2024
In frame: Kunal Newar
In frame: Kunal Newar

A wave of mentalism is currently flowing in India, with many artistes taking it up as a profession. There
are a number of names associated with mentalism in India such as Suhani Shah, Ugesh Sarcar, Nakul Shenoy, Rahul Kharbanda and Neel Madhav. One name that is very much part of the mentalism circle in India is Kunal Newar. You might have come across videos of him performing with celebrities and politicians, while also performing at events for corporates, colleges, on TV shows and more. We get up close with Kunal to learn more about him, his work, the future of mentalism in India and lots more.

Have you always wanted to make a career in mentalism?
Since my childhood, I had been fascinated by the field of magic, which eventually turned into mentalism. I used to follow a lot of magic shows, even when I had no idea about what it was. I was seeing something that didn’t have a logical explanation. That piqued my interest. At around 11, I got a magic kit and that kind of started my journey towards mentalism. I started practicing with the magic kit in front of friends and family. My interest in the art grew as I read more books and delved into the tricks. But as the pressure of studies grew, mentalism took the back seat. I got back to mentalism once I started working. Seeing the amazement in the eyes of the audience increased my determination to be better at my craft.

Tell us about your work as a mentalist?
I define a mentalist as someone who performs feats that showcase extraordinary mental powers, which also include mindreading. As a mentalist, I work towards captivating the audience through the art of mind-bending entertainment. I engage in the art of mind-reading and delving into people’s minds.

How did you switch from engineering to mentalism? Was it a difficult shift?
I started by persuading myself, followed by my parents and society. Everyone looks at a stable profession. I was skeptical at first, about switching from a secure profession to making one in mentalism. It almost took a year for me to convince my family and society about me taking up an alternative career path. Once you take such a step, there is no turning back. So, from the moment I took the decision (of making a career in mentalism), I started working on performances. Even though I have worked with multiple celebrities and given a number of TEDx talks, I keep on working on my profession because I believe there is so much more to learn about the craft.

What do you think about the future of mentalism in India?
People in India are becoming aware of mentalism and every day more people are accepting it as an art form. My aim is to increase exposure to mentalism so that people understand what modern magic is and what mentalism stands for. Being part of reality shows has helped me reach out to more people and inform them about my work. There are a lot of other mentalists and many others are taking it up as a profession. So, the future of mentalism in India is very promising.

What can we expect from you in 2024?
I have some public shows lined up. Apart from that, I am launching courses on magic and mentalism. People who are curious and keen on mastering the art are open to joining. I am also working on some brand new acts which are sure to keep your interest piqued.

X: @al_ben_so

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