Let the magic unfurl with magician Suhani Shah
Magician Suhani Shah gets candid about her rise to fame, performing magic virtually, and what can Delhites expect from her upcoming show
I will get into your head.’... These are the words by magician Suhani Shah, while she’s in the process of filming a video with Indian rapper Badshah. In less than a minute, Shah correctly guesses his childhood friend’s name. In another video with actor Kareena Kapoor, Shah manages to narrate one of Bebo’s memorable incidents, just by reading her mind.
Shah’s tricks and accurate predictions are what make this mentalist one of the most popular homegrown magicians—perhaps the only female illusionist in India. To mark her silver jubilee in the industry, the Mumbai resident has embarked on a 30-city India tour, ‘Kahaani’—Shah will perform in Delhi and Gurugram on Saturday and Sunday respectively. In a chat with The Morning Standard, she talks about her journey.
On finding her calling…
I watched a magic show on TV. Every kid gets fascinated by magic, and I was fascinated with what I saw as well, but I wanted to do the things that the magician was doing. I walked up to my father and said ‘I wanted to pursue magic’. There was banter between him and I, and it took a few days [to convince him] because I was very young and he wanted me to pursue studies. But it was not like my dream to pursue magic was dismissed as a funny thought. When they realised I was serious—it took a week or so—my father was like ‘If you want to perform, let us not do it at a school or party… but at a big stage show’. I don’t come from a family of magicians and that made it difficult because magic is an art that is passed down from generation to generation. It took 10 months to find people who could help me learn. On October 22, 1997, I performed my first-ever stage show—I was seven.
Magic is the parent category and it has sub-genres such as illusion, close-up magic, mentalism, etc. Every mentalist is a magician but not every magician is a mentalist. In mentalism, there are no props used. It is a psychologically-performed art form with history attached to it. It involves prediction, mind reading, unlocking phones, etc.
On pursuing magic virtually…
Before the pandemic, if anyone would say ‘You have to perform magic over the internet’, it would be a stern ‘no’ because the thought was that it was not possible. To perform mentalism, I need an audience in front of me… to be able to talk and see their body language, expressions, and movements. But there was no scope to meet people because of the lockdown.
I am somebody who has done magic all my life. To maintain my own sanity, I decided to live-stream on YouTube, and I kept exploring that.
On her India tour…
This year I complete 25 years in the industry and we are celebrating that with the India tour. I owe a lot to magic, and I wanted to create something Indians deserve to see. We went all out to create a larger-than-life show; it is about two hours of pure mentalism with drama. I wanted to show Indians what real mentalism is like. It is a show India has never experienced before.
CHECK IT OUT
WHEN: September 24 (Delhi) and 25 (Gurugram)
WHERE: Ghalib Auditorium, Mandi House, Delhi; Epicentre, sector 44, Gurugram