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Remembering PC Sorcar, the genius who made Indian magic a worldwide sensation

Think Change India
12th Apr 2016
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Protul Chandra Sorcar, the Indian magician who shot to international fame, mesmerized audiences all over the world with his show ‘Indrajal’ through the 1950s and 1960s. Magician John Mulholland of New York in 1960 wrote “It is not enough that a magician mystifies his audience, he must also entertain and delight them as he (Sorcar) does so well. It gives me great pleasure to recall that in his performance there is no detail so small as to be unimportant to him. His attention to details adds immeasurably to the performance as a whole. Such an attitude as his in this regard is the mark of a genuine artist.”

Image: (L) Live Auctioneers ; (R) P C Sorcar Magician
Image: (L) Live Auctioneers ; (R) P C Sorcar Magician

On February 2010, in Kolkata, The Department of Posts released a commemorative stamp in honour of P C Sorcar, the man who “took the magic of India to the rest of the world” and captivated audiences worldwide with tricks crafted from India’s folk arts and mystic traditions. West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, who was present on the occasion, said, “I have come to pay my respects to the memory of such a person who was not just popular amongst the people of our country, but also had earned great admiration and regard in the international arena.”

Image: Pretty Kitsch
Image: Pretty Kitsch

Mr. Bhattacharjee’s personal favourite was the ‘Water of India,’ an item in which an endless stream of water flowed from a vessel throughout the show. He remembered having seen it in his younger days. “I don’t understand magic, but what I know is that it is based on the fundamentals of logic and science,” the Chief Minister told The Hindu.

Issued on his 98th birth anniversary, the stamp has a picture of the maestro with his hands outstretched weaving the ‘indrajal’ (web of illusion) – a term he coined to describe the repertoire of his tricks and illusions.

The Department of Posts was very pleased to release a stamp on the “Jadugar of the world” in Bengal, the place where he drew inspiration for several of his tricks, said Rameshwari Handa, Chief Post Master-General, West Bengal Circle. The famed magician, known for his spectacular sets and costumes, particularly his self-styled “Maharaja robe” and plumed turban, was also the author of 20 books – in Bengali, Hindi and English – on various aspects of the craft. Elaborate optical illusions emphasised by dazzling light effects were hallmarks of his shows.

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