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17 Aug 2019, Edition - 1495, Saturday

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An art that goes beyond science

Subhashini R

Do you remember the famous line of Morgan Freeman in Now you see me? – When a magician waves his hand and says, “This is where the magic is happening”, the real trick is happening somewhere else. Misdirection. The bright lights of the stage, the thunderous claps, the gasps or even the gush of smoke that ushers the mysterious magician in. I thought this is how dramatic a magician’s life would be. But, city-based Tijo Varghese convinced me otherwise. He told me it is an art. An art that is meditated upon, focused with practiced precision and a single-minded motivation. Let us peek behind the curtain to understand the man who favours natural means to entertain his audience with transformation, vanishing acts, card tricks, blindfolded daring acts that leave his audience awestruck.

Skilled in levitation, illusion, production of vanishing and mentalism, Varghese attributes his achievements to the simple pedagogy- Practice makes perfect. Rubbishing the rumors about supernatural and power side of magic, he says, “Magic is just an art. One that goes beyond science. It is very hard to master and needs a lot of practice and a clear mind due to constant yoga. It is like a sixth sense to us; one that we develop with hard work, not any supernatural practice”. In a dark tone he also adds, “We need to master the tricks very carefully or sometimes, a small mistake can even lead to the death of people.”

Despite magic videos and other sites that reveal secrets of the trade, Varghese insists that it can only reveal the simple tricks while the complex and hard ones which the audience enjoy immensely are those which they come to see being performed and experience a sense of stress-free happiness. Attracted to the happiness that is seen in the face of the audience when they watch a trick unfold in front of their eyes, Varghese calls this form of entertainment as one like no other as anticipation is the key here.

When Varghese talked of his passion for magic, it could hardly be called a mere entertainment. He is a man who no longer thinks of it as tricks and gimmicks. He has researched upon the theory behind the art of magic and published a 150- 200 paged thesis which earned him his honorary doctorate in Magic from the Indian Virtual University for Peace and Education. As the audience held their breath, Varghese performed dangerous and difficult tricks like cutting the apple placed on the stomach of an audience member while being blindfolded, earning him two records in the Indian book of records, an act that no other magician has been able to achieve. Charismatic and bold, he was able to hold the audience’s attention for over two hours with his solo acts, earning him fame and magician certification all over the globe. Such research and honorary doctorate had also given him the opportunity to step up his game and receive a Guinness World Record Official Attempt for Most Magician on Stage.

Despite such proud achievements, Varghese claims that his deep personal motivation lies in his love for helping people. Contributing to charity from what he makes in his shows, actively participating in public awareness and service through many non-profit organisations, he believes that it makes him understand that magic has a specialty. It gives people a chance to unwind after a long day, make them understand the world goes beyond their capability to understand it.

We have all heard about the school of thought – Art for Art’s Sake. But, here Varghese produces new mechanisms and tricks in his art with a thirst for constant achievement just to make sure the audience are wowed by the beauty of the art. “The tricks are not the art. The art that lies in the creation of the impossible, contains such tricks within it”, he says before signing off.

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