Gingerly I went for the interview; supposing Sorcar began playing tricks
on me! What then?
A thick-spectacled rotund figure in lounge suit was reclining besides Mr. Lakhani in the settee at the Ripon Falls Hotel reading a copy of Sport. Surely this man couldn't be Sorcar, who reads blindfolded in his show and has no need for specs. I looked in vain for the familiar face which has been staring at us from the posters during the last few weeks.
Mr. Lakhani came to the rescue and introduced the figure as Sorcar. It was a surprise.
Sorcar was quite slim when I saw in London three years ago at the Duke of York Theatre. He smiled, shook hands and began a 15-minute chat in English and Hindhustani. "I know your show is famous all over the world, Mr. Sorcar, but tell me what country has not seen it." "Only the Soviet Union and Communist China. You see I would lose the American market if I went there." Sorcar was frank. "What made you take up magic as a career? "What a questions? I was born in a family of seven generations of magicians. It is in my blood, old boy." Then began a chat about his youth, where he was born, where resided, what plans he had for the future, etc. Sorcar was born Protul Chandra Sarcar in Tangail, East Bengal, forty six years ago. After studying honours in Mathematics at Calcutta University, he turned to the hereditary profession. "What do you think about Houdini? "I think he has been unnecessarily boosted up by the Americans as a magician. He was a great showman, yes, but definitely not a magician. You know what: I was billed in America as the "Indian Houdini"; it was a misnomer."
Coming to the classical question to a magician, I asked Sorcar, "What do you think of the Indian Rope Trick? You know Westerners are skeptical about it?"
"I believe the Indian Rope Trick can be done under certain favourable conditions, the same conditions that are required for suspended animation," said Sorcar.
The Great Sorcar or "Sorcar the Great' (he is king in his own realm), call him what you will, is indeed stupendous. Not only is he a Master Magician but also a master illusionist and a master showman. East Africa, at least, has never seen such costumes, such scenery, such synchronization and such instantaneous action. Sorcar calls himself a cultural ambassador of India.The cuttings from over a thousand newspapers all over the world testify that he has fulfilled this role wonderfully well. Among other numerous awards from all the five continents, Sorcar twice won the Sphinx award (the Nobel Prize of Magic) in New York. The man who amazed London, New York and Paris by cycling blindfold in the thickest traffic was none other than Sorcar. Tributes have been paid to him by high and low, by ministers, jurists, doctors and the humble johnny. Sorcar is not a modest man; he is justifiably proud of his achievements. "Never before has the magic of the East in all its mystery been taken to the West," says Sorcar. And indeed the "pukka sahib," instead of having to travel East, has had all India's "mystery" brought to his doorstep by Sorcar, literally, on a silver plate.
A very strong point with Sorcar is that he knows exactly what the public wants; he can gauge their demands with the nicety of a virtuoso.
Thank goodness, Sorcar did not perform the Vanishing Trick during te interview. Some of the items in the forst half of the show have probably been seen by many magic fans before but the items after the interval were real choice pieces, never witnessed before in East Africa. The curtains at the Norman parted with the blowing of Mahabarta trumpets and temple bells. After the "Water of India" stunt, Sorcar began taking odds and ends out of a hollow cylinder. Suddenly he came out of the wings armed with a .202; with a single dummy shot, four live ducks appeared out of the cylinder. Different items followed in quick succession - pigeons appearing from nowhere and pigeons disappearing to nowhere. The novelty about Sorcar's card tricks was that unconventionally, he used oversize cards, as high as his pretty girls' waists (Sorcar's assistants). The most sensational items in the first half was inviting members of the audience to write anything on a blackboard. Sorcar read or wrote commentaries on these, heavily blindfolded. He also extended a single line or a mark into a caricature. Would Sorcar have been able also to decipher a stiff scientific formula? Sorcar calls this item the feat of the X-RAY EYES. After the ten-minute interval, there was the Chinese House illusion (also called the Shanghai Mystery) with Chinese costumes and Chinese background. For the Temple of Benares act Sorcar, dressed up as pundit, made a girl disappear inside a miniature temple, to reappear again at his command. Large Indian swords were thrust in while the girl was supposed to be inside. The Egyptian Magic item was on the same basis as the Chinese Act, with the pyramids and Sphinx in the background and Sorcar dressed up as a Sheikh (the harem was there too). The Egyptian music by Sorcar's Indian musicians created an atmosphere of Haroun al Rashid's days. Thepiece de resistance, which has made men gap, and women faint, was sawing the lady in half by an electrical circular saw. Much has been written about this realistic illusion (for an illusion it is) but to do full justice to Sorcar, one has got to see the Act itself. Millions saw it on television in Europe and America. Another sensational item, cutting a piece of the tongue of an assistant was given as an extra item by Sorcar in Kampala. Sorcar explained that he seldom gave both the above items in the same show. This feat has been performed before skeptics of the British Medical Association. Among others who witnessed the feat in Kampala were several doctors and they were impressed. The feat, Sorcar explains, depends entirely on hypnotism (Sorcar also mumbled Hindu mantras). Witnesses testify that the heart and pulse of the subject stopped completely while the tongue was being sliced. A lot has also been written in the West about Hindu Black Art or the Vanishing Trick. It was terrifying, especially the one where two grotesque skeletons did the "Dance of Death". Before the finale, Sorcar "vanished" while doing a "dance" on the stage, to appear instantaneously at the back of the hall. "I am here" - surprised faces turned.
SORCAR, THE LEGEND
There are plenty of tales about Sorcar, some of them ture. When invited
for his Sh. 1/- contribution at the Nairobi Rotary Club, Sorcar produced
a -/10 cents piece. He was politely told that is was 'impertinence'. "It
is a shilling," Sorcar insisted. The Rotarians looked again, and indeed
a shilling it was! There is also the story of the British Railways ticket
collector who demanded Sorcar's ticket. "I haven't got it," said Sorcar.
"Come with me to the Station master's office." "Whatever for? You pinched
my ticket." The collector stared, amazed at the green bit of official cardboard
in his hand. the best one is about Sorcar and his mother-in-law! After
Sorcar's wedding, his dotting mother-in-law brought a choice dish of delicacies
for the son-in-law. "There is nothing there," sais Sorcar, with affected
indignation removing the cover. Wouldn't you like to see your mother-in-law
International Articles on Sorcar
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