According her profile in The India Times, Suhani Shah is the only female magician in India. I’m not sure if that’s entirely true, but she is certainly the most successful. Her career on the stage started at age seven and continues to this day, but she’s also a clinical hypnotherapist, corporate trainer, author and counselor. She’s given several TED talks on the interplay between magic and psychology. One of her videos on Facebook, in which she guesses the names of people’s secret crushes, has garnered over 11 million views.
Shah’s touring abroad required her to be home-schooled, yet despite her hectic schedule, she still excelled in her academic and sporting pursuits:
“I had a diploma in computers before I the age of 10, and have represented the state in swimming championships,” she said. “While I love my science, technology and sport immensely, I would choose the stage every time I had a choice.”
So why magic? “Because everybody chooses everything else,” she answers. That contrarian streak is a huge influence on her work. India’s magicians of old were staunch traditionalists, all glittery capes, gold laced turbans and rabbits in hats. Shah initially imitated those acts – early photos of her feature enough glitter and eyeliner to bring David Bowie back from the dead – but she quickly developed a taste for the less fanciful arena of mentalism.
“Because that is what I have been doing in my shows for a while now,” she explains. “Just you, me and a conversation – no props and I will tell you what you’re thinking.”