When 22-year-old magician Neel Madhav started You Got Magic in 2014, little did he know that the show would become a huge hit. Now he is back with season two, promising double the excitement in the weekly show that focusses on food and travel, besides magic. The youngest magician on Indian TV, Madhav says, “Age is just a number. India, being such a vast country, is full of talented kids. While shooting for the second season, I was amazed to see the kind of things children are doing these days. I see young kids performing magic and putting up videos online and it fills my heart with joy.”
Calling himself an illusionist and an entertainer, Madhav prefers street magic on his show—similar to David Frayne’s Dynamo and Cyril Takayama’s Simply Magic. While conceding that international shows have long been the only magic shows on TV, the producer and host quips, “We decided to combine a little bit of everything here because the audience enjoys variety. I also observed that the whole notion of magic being a staged form of art was rapidly shifting to a performance-based street art. So what better way to take magic to the streets than by making a magic-travel show.”
Made for it
Ever since the age of 16—when Madhav attended world-famous illusionist Jason Randall’s show in Boston—magic became his full-time passion. Hailing from a business family based in London, he is the only one from his family to be associated with the craft. “I met Randall after the show and he ended up showing me tricks for almost two hours. He also gave me an 800-page book and said, ‘If you can go through the entire book and master the magic tricks, give me call. I’ll tell you what to do next’,” says Madhav, who finished the book in four months, and then devoured three others that the magician gave him. Following that, he spent five years practising tricks in front of an audience. “Whenever I got things wrong, I went back and did it again from scratch,” he says.
The magician’s most memorable trick has been changing sand into gold, in the first season of the show. After exploring cities like Delhi, Lucknow, Varanasi and Mumbai last year, Madhav and co-host Akash Arora, will try something different this time—from exploring the desert lands of the Rann of Kutch to taking an early morning train ride in Shimla. They will also discover martial arts like gatka in Amritsar. “In a country where comedy and dance gets all the attention, people should
start appreciating magic as an art,” he concludes.
From September 25, every Friday at 8.30 pm, on NDTV Good Times
Mayuri J Ravi