Jewel Aich is the pioneering magician in Bangladesh, and the first superstar in the craft. The legendary artiste has performed in many countries, and is constantly travelling from one place to another with his caravan of tricks. The Daily Star talks to the magician about his philosophy, the state of the industry, and more.
A magician from Kolkata recently lost his life while performing. What is your take on that?
It is quite unfortunate that the magician, Chanchal Lahiri, drowned as he was trying to free himself from chains while being submerged underwater. It is a hundred year-old trick and should not have been attempted without adequate safety measures. Magicians always have to evolve, keeping safety at the forefront. That being said, he had a family and I extend my condolences to them. It is indeed a very tragic event.
What is the state of the magic industry in the country?
You have to understand that in this country, film is considered an art, but magic is not. It is more of a live performing art, where the artistes are in the profession only for love and passion. To be honest, it is not in a very good state. You will find that there are dedicated pages to art, music, film and theatre in newspapers, but there is no mention of magic in them as an art. I have done four television shows this Eid, and there was no coverage about any of them.
You have travelled many countries, exhibiting your craft. Do you travel around as often now?
My schedule has not changed a bit, I am still very busy. I am soon going to the USA for three months to do shows. After I come back, I will be busy with shows in the country. My shows are almost always house-full, and I am grateful for that.
What is the most important part of magic?
I feel like magic is something that has to take you back to your childhood. It has to make you feel the intrigue that you felt when you discovered a new kind of flower, while you’re chasing a dragonfly. To be ‘magical’, you need to have the ability to bring out a child-like enthusiasm amongst people.
What advice would you give to a budding magician?
You have to research and study extensively about the subject. Only if you do that, you will find the road to eventually become a magician yourself. One must remember that this craft is always changing, so you have to innovate as much as possible. It won’t do you any good if you are insistent on displaying the same old tricks that has been done for generations.