Keeping it simple with magical approach

When Neel Madhav was in class 8, one of his teachers advised him to stay away from public speaking owing to his dyslexic condition. Later, as the school’s gymnastic captain in Class 12, he was asked to give a speech, for which he and his friend practised in the school’s washroom continuously for a week, prior to the D-Day.

 “I ended up giving a speech without stuttering, and that left a lot of people, including that teacher, surprised and boosted my confidence. That was my turning point,” says the alumnus of Doon School, Dehradun. Today, more than three and a half years later, Madhav is a self-taught magician, who learnt the tricks of the trade from the easily available books on magic and a hard disk full of videos.

“For a month, I did not do anything but learn the magic tricks. I just kept practising and finally stepped outside to perform and show my skills. Then, one thing led to another, and that is how all this was achieved,” he says.

Now at the age of 22, Madhav has a popular TV show - You Got Magic With Neel Madhav running to his name, has travelled across the globe, gives talks and teaches Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) techniques to corporates looking to enhance their business.
What led Madhav to walk on the path of magic was a chance encounter with renowned magician Jason Randal at one of Howard Business School’s MBA classes where he had accompanied his father.

He recollects, “I entered after his performance was over and was really upset. So, my father went up to Randal and requested him to perform for me. The magician obliged and ended up performing magic tricks for two hours. His performance cheered me up and I forgot that I was upset. In the end, I thought what if I had the power to do the same to people?”

Madhav, who started off with card tricks, gimmicks and mind tricks, admits to |
have reached the mentalism stage where one can intuitively read a person's mind. He, however, says that he is still trying to better his skills with hypnotism, or controlling one’s mind to do involuntary activities. He adds, “I never had any trait of a magician. But once I learnt how to talk properly, it was much easier. People perceive magic differently when you can communicate and connect with them.”

From performing on streets to meeting diverse people as part of his performances, he intends to follow “keeping things simple” approach. He tells Metrolife, “I don’t keep a script. I do everything in my mind. Mental practice is the best practice.”

With his TV show, a production house, regular stage shows and corporate retreats, Madhav has his hands full. He shares, “Magic is just one part of what I do. I am trying to change the entire industry. There is no fun in just being a talent. Marketing is my thing. I am in talks with a lot of investors who are getting into this whole business of magic in India.”

Known as the “face of contemporary magic in India”, Madhav grins to reveal his plans from wanting to drive blindfolded to working with magician Tony Hassini from International Magicians Society. He says, “While I am in talks with Tony Hassini, I am figuring out, how to do a blindfolded car drive through the process of remote viewing or seeing through the eyes of the person on the passenger’s seat. Those are my next goals.”

Commenting on the stereotypical image of magicians in India, Madhav says it is not about just a man wearing a black hat at birthday celebrations with tricks in his pocket. “In the West, magic is a million dollar industry. It is an art. In India, music and comedy have reached that point now. I think magic is at a level where it can reach more people. In fact, people are opening up to the concept of tapping into the potential of the unknown.”

Giving examples of sci-fi films like Star Wars (1977) which was way ahead of its times, he mentions “magic has the potential to keep improving” and as a magician, it is all that keeps him going.

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