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Suhani Shah, India’s first female Magician.

She is a Mentalist, hypnotherapist, YouTuber, and author. Experiences have taught her more than what a school could or would. 

She is Suhani Shah, India’s first female Magician.

Question 1. You started your journey as a magician at a very early age. Tell us about your first show experience.

I think I was around five, or six years old. When I used to watch Magic programs on television like any other kid, I would get fascinated and I would want to perform those acts one day. I walked up to my dad and I told him I want to become a magician, initially, it was like, yeah, okay you know maybe you can do it but I was very persistent. I kept walking up to him till he didn’t take me seriously and then one day he told me that. If you want to perform magic, it shouldn’t be for a school college or a birthday party. You need to do grand stage shows and I was six years old, so I was like, yeah, I just want to perform magic so anyway it was fine. And I think, from that day like a few days from then, my parents started finding people who could teach me magic, which was a big task in India. Nobody teaches Magic. So, it took around 10 months to find people who could teach me magic. We couldn’t get magicians, but we got people who assist magicians in their shows. So we got a group of those people and we requested them to teach me magic and they agreed. So, it took me, I don’t know how to read and write since I was very young. So they would say dialogues. And I would listen to them and remember them. We rented an auditorium for a few months and would practice there every day. There were 30 people. There was like a huge stage set that was designed, choreographers, live music, everything was done. And I think after 10 months it was on the 22nd of October 1997 which is almost 25 years ago. I did my first ever Stage show. This happened in Ahmedabad in Thakurbhai Desai Hall. I was seven years old and my first stage show experience honestly, I don’t remember much. I was seven, I do not recollect everything but the vague memory I have is that I remember before the show started, I was backstage. And all I could think of was I have to go on stage and perform what I have been taught and enjoy myself. That’s it. So I was counting how many steps I have to walk straight when I pick up the mic. So my idea was very clear. I just have to enjoy myself and do what I’ve been taught and that is it. So that’s just it. And at my first show my parents made sure I got a kick start. I had the – then chief minister of Gujarat Shankar Singh Vaghela, the ministry, and the media and they were all really supportive and helpful. And yeah, give me a good start in my career.

Question 2. If you were not a mentalist, what would you have been?

I really have no idea because I’ve been doing magic from the age of seven. So yeah, I mean this has been my first love and I haven’t fallen out of love yet. It’s been 25 years so I’m very glad about it. It’s not that I did not try anything else in between – I was 4 years into politics, I ran a clinic as a clinical hypnotherapist for nine years, I was a swimming champion, and I am a Professional Scuba diver. So I have done all those things. I’ve written five books on psychology and human behaviour, and done training programs, talks and sessions. So I did try a lot of other things but I always came back to Magic so I think that’s been my first love and my true love. I keep trying different things but magic has been my true calling. I love the art form. I love going on stage and it is the art form that has taught me a lot more than just magic tricks. It’s taught me human psychology. It’s taken me to places and made me who I am today. I can’t think of being anything else.

Question 3. Have you ever goofed up during the performance and what did you do?

Oh, several times. I think. The first thing to understand is that magic is a performing art. I mean it is life, it happens on state and it happens with you, by humans and mistakes are bound to happen.

Secondly earlier, I used to perform illusion shows in a very traditional way. And by that, I mean, we had those glittery clothes, we had 30 people to ourselves, two trucks of goods and we used to go to one city, put up a set there, in an auditorium, for one month, perform every single day. Sometimes two shows a day, sometimes three shows in a day. So when you’re performing so much you do make a lot of mistakes, but the best part is that you perform so many times, you’ve made mistakes so many times that now you have learned how to deal with them in a much better way. So it’s experienced over everything else. Even today, right now I don’t do illusion shows, I do more mentalism performances. I mean there are things that I might not be able to correctly, guess out of people’s minds or things may go wrong, but I think it’s fine. I think when you connect with your art form and with your audience, well, even they get it and then you move on to the next thing. In fact, it makes people believe that it’s more real. So yeah, I mean you goof up your laugh at it. Sometimes we have goofed up and people haven’t even got to know about it like you goof up and you only rectified in your own way and you perform and people don’t know what went wrong. So confidence and experience over everything else.

Question 4. What do you do with mentalism and Magic? Who is your inspiration?

As I mentioned earlier, I used to watch Magic programs coming on television so I was very attracted to those shows. Secondly, as a kid, I used to always say that I want to do something different, so whenever a kid, you know, you ask a kid, what do you want to do when you grow up? So kids would answer, teacher dancer, doctor engineer. And because everybody else was answering that, I didn’t want to, like, I wanted my answer to  be very unique which was very silly but that’s how kids are. So, I happened to say, magician, Jadoogar because nobody was saying that I had thought my answer was very unique. So first thing was that I was very attracted to the art form. The second thing I wanted to do was something different and the third bit was that I have had parents who are Visionaries – they made sure that I just don’t perform magic for schools and birthday parties. They made sure that I make it large in life. So I think these three are my primary reasons. I want to do something different, attracted to the art form and had visionary parents, who supported it.

I think that’s the reason I chose magic and I would like to pursue the art form. And in Magic there are different genres – there is illusion, mentalism, escapology, blindfolding, street magic, Conjuring, pickpocketing etc. there are many different genres in Magic. I started as an Illusionist and now I am a mentalist.

My inspiration honestly, I’ve been very out of the magic community in India, but if I look globally, look at David Copperfield. David Copperfield was the one whose videos we used to watch as kids when I had an urge to perform my shows. So I think they were highly inspired by David Copperfield. Currently, if I have to look at it, it would be a bit of Darren Brown who is a UK-based magician and I really admire his performance style. Other than that there are many artists I admire, they don’t have to be mentalists or magicians because you just learn from different art forms and adapt that and make your art better.

Question 5. What is the most memorable reaction you’ve gotten from your mentalism?

You know, every reaction is unique. Mentalism as an art form is beautiful, you just talk to people and suddenly tell them something that they haven’t told anybody, something that’s just in their mind and you become vocal about it. They are totally surprised and they are in awe. People sometimes get angry at me thinking, how can, you know this? You’re not supposed to know this and I’m like, I’m sorry, that’s what I do for a living. So I believe every reaction is extremely unique. Some people go numb, some people get angry, some people go into absolute shock, like, you know, some people scream, some people are super silent and I believe every reaction tells me about the person so much more. So, you know I’ve been performing the art form for so many years, but till today, even when I’m performing for 1 person, I’m just ki, iska kya reaction aane wala hai. How is this person gonna react? I’m looking forward to it! So every reaction is important.

Question 6. What’s the most useless talent you have?

I can win any Pani Puri eating competition. I mean, I don’t know if the world considers this to be a talent, but I am super proud of this.

Question 7. What’s the weirdest question you have been asked?

It has to be something related to my relationships and marriage and things like that. So a lot of people keep asking me questions, like, “Aapse toh koi shaadi hi nahi karega na? Aap toh unka mind hi read kar lete honge. And your boyfriend will always be in trouble, no?” or, “That’s why you’re always single because you read minds.” So yeah, all of these I find very weird.

Question 8. What is one message you would like to give to your fans?

Be kind. Just be kind to individuals on the internet and off the internet. Somebody does something good for you, say thank you. Somebody’s Art made you smile, let them know about it, even in the comment section, you can write good things. Sometimes you feel that I don’t know what to comment – Dropping a little heart just Emoji sometimes can do wonders. So be this one person who’s spreading love, who is spreading positivity.

There is a lot of hate. There’s a lot of toxicity out there already.

You are the one person who appreciates the good in people and makes sure that you talk about it and also express it. So just be kind individuals. It will take you a long way.

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