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Abra ka dabra – Coffee with Arvind Jayashankar – Magician!

3 July 2008 3 Comments

Hi all..

Its my pleasure to invite a magician to CWS.. Todays guest is Arvind Jayashankar.. A young magician and a student of NIT Trichy..
I dont want to talk too much here .. I would like to say 2 things..

1. His Magic is simply amazing… πŸ™‚
2. NIT Trichy is seeing a superb set of people as its students… There is so much diversity out there these days..

Without further ado,

Coffee With Arvind Jayashankar – Magician

Me: Sundar Rajan G S
AJ: Arvind Jayashankar

Me: Hi AJ, welcome to CWS! When did you start learning magic? How did you you pick up interest in magic.. Is there someone in your family who is into this?
AJ: Hey Sundar, thanks for the welcome; great to be here! I learnt a very very simple effect when I was a little kid. Something with my fingers where they switch places. I didn’t really do much after that though. I got back on track with renewed interest again around 5 years back. About how I got interest – I’ve always loved to watch magic. It used to air on TV. I’m a big time fan of David Copperfield. I grew up watching his TV specials.
Nope, no one in my family is into this..

Me: Every Magician becomes your specialist in one particular type of magic.. Something like.. some are good at cards.. Some do optical illusion tricks etc.. Have you *specialized* in something??
AJ: Well, my major specialty is close up card magic. I do also do what we call “Mentalism” up close as well as on stage. Mentalism is the branch which deals with magic with the mind. It’s really awesome stuff as well!

Me: What are various types of Magic? How does one go about learning the same? Are there schools for this?
AJ: Various types, there are a lot actually. Here are a couple off the top of my head: Grand illusion (on stage, big effects like flying, cutting people in half, etc), Strolling (David Blaine comes to mind), Restaurant magic, Parlor magic, Cabaret, Street magic (performing on the streets for money), Mentalism, Coin magic, Balloon magic, Bizarre magick (weird stuff, not for the weak at heart!), to name a few!

Me: What is the role of teachers in this? Can you learn magic from books? How successful can you get.. without teachers..?
AJ: Honestly, I did not start magic with a teacher. I learnt out of my own complete interest. I started referring books, got online, got to know many people, interacted, bought training videos, material, that kind of stuff. I have never actually met (well till a few months back atleast) a real full time magic pro to get training from. I have however met and interacted with plenty of them online. So in the end – the internet is an amazing, magical place! πŸ™‚

Me: What are the skills needed for a magician?? What does it take a Magician to succeed..
AJ: You don’t need much to start. But you should have a good will to learn and practice. Since I did it all on my own, I discovered how to go about it automatically. It was like being thrown somewhere and asked to figure out your way. I could spoonfeed and get someone up and going, but I don’t believe that is the best way. A good start would be to get some basic beginner books and get familiar. Then if you like it and think you are getting better, have an appetite for more, then you will automatically know what to do next and where to go πŸ™‚
Like I mentioned, in the beginning not much is needed. But as you progress you will see that acting, drama, scripting all play a very important role for the serious ones. Those develop gradually though.

Me: People say.. A magician should never believe in his Magic.. What are your views on this.. Dont you think.. you should imagine or visualize everything that happens.. Doesnt this in some sense count as believing in what you do?
AJ: A magician’s duty is to make someone believe they are seeing something that doesn’t exist. “Suspension of disbelief” to put it more eloquently. I love to watch magic performances but unfortunately for me I cannot enjoy it completely if I look deeply as I most often know how everything is accomplished. That is why performance and presentation plays such a large role. So many people do the same things. But what sets them apart? It’s the way it is done. Those are the ones I enjoy. If you can make me believe in magic, that would be the most amazing thing. I want to believe πŸ™‚ Sometimes it’s the drama and mystery that surrounds an effect that is the real magic. Yesterday I saw an incredible performance on TV. It was by an amateur magician, simple effects of which I knew how almost everything worked. But he had so much drama and theatrics in the performance. A dream sequence, where his dream becomes reality, he wakes up, imagines it, and it ends by him going back to sleep and the whole thing being something like a dream. It was amazing and I thought that was the magic.

Yes, I do have to believe in what I do. To me I would’ve done the effect a million times but for the spectator it is the first time. So if I feel bored or if I myself do not believe, then how can I expect my audience to believe? πŸ™‚ I hope that answered that!

Me: P C Sarkar supposedly made a bus to dissappear.. Obviously.. it is a trick.. Do you know how they do such things.. Large scale optical illusion???
AJ: I don’t really wish to say whether I know how such things are done. Here’s the reason why. I will probably never be performing that stuff, so if I know it or not it really doesn’t make a difference! If I say I know it, I believe it degrades the effect portrayed to you all. If I say I don’t know it, there’s another thing in that as well! So best would be for you to decide whether I know or not, haha.
Large scale optical illusion? Naah! It’s magic! πŸ˜‰

Me: Ok.. that was philosophical.. What is the state of Magic as a business? We dont see a lot of Magic show these days..
AJ: Actually magic is a very big business! It’s just not that popular in India. In the US, people live their lives off magic. They make millions of dollars. Corporate events, private gigs, public performances, big shows. Take David Copperfield. He has the world record I believe for one of the most successful performances ever in Las Vegas. About the monetary details, will be interesting if you check out his contract. Simply amazing (and very very large!)
I do hope it does become more popular in India. It’ll take time as many have a stereotypical image of the art. Things like it’s cheesy, done by strange bearded men, etc. That image is very untrue. You can search for some videos of some of the most popular magicians around the world to get an idea of how it really is!

Me: Can you share some of your videos?
There’s a video at this link that you can view: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vqXl94GXIwM
I don’t have too many and the ones I have aren’t very clear unfortunately. Better would be to probably meet me sometime and ask me to show ya something πŸ™‚ I’ll be more than willing.

Me: Sure why not.. πŸ™‚ Anyways.. Hope you had a nice time on CWS.. thank you soo much..
AJ: Thanks a lot!

Readers, hope you enjoyed this edition of coffee with experts.. Check out the previous episodes here..




  • Subhodeep Moitra said:

    Hey way to go AJ .. !!!
    You’re giving interviews and all now … !!!!

  • Varun S said:

    Can you do some magic and make this comment disappear? πŸ™‚

    nice interview. Great work Sundar.


  • AJ said:

    That magical thing only Sundar can do πŸ™‚