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Indian magicians Op Sharma and Op Sharma Jr. continue the long tradition of skepticism in magic


My grandmother once told me you can’t lie to a liar. Actually, that’s not true. What she really told me can’t be printed here, but that lying to a liar thing was the gist of it. 

Perhaps that’s why so many magicians, be they people of faith or otherwise, seem to embrace skepticism. Miracles seem a lot less impressive when you know how they’re done. Such is the case for veteran magicians, Op Sharma and his son, Op Sharma Jr., also known as Satayaprakash. The pair are currently touring India, performing shows meant to undermine and expose “Godmen;” self-styled gurus who use simple magic tricks to attract followers.

“Through our magic, we aim to make people aware of superstitions and pull them out of the clutches of their old-fashioned beliefs,” Satayaprakash told the local press. “Self-styled Godmen befool people with simple acts of hypnotism. I show my audience how a ring can spew ash and how a Rs 100 note can turn into Rs 500. These are all tricks and mind games and one should not fall for them blindly.” 

 Like many of his western peers Satyaparkash worries that the internet might be keeping audiences away from live shows, denying them a crucial aspect of the magic experience. 

“There is so much information and entertainment available on the Internet that people tend to spend a lot of time online and they are left with little time to step out of the confines of their house to enjoy live shows.” 

“Magic, however, is one such art which is best enjoyed when watched live,” he continued. “The element of surprise is lost when we watch videos on the Internet. We feel it more when it happens in front of our eyes. Although there are many youngsters who are interested in learning the art, the number of spectators has not been very encouraging.”

Still, Satyaprakash’s own sons are looking to follow in the footsteps of their father and grandfather.  

“My sons are also keen on learning and taking up the art,” he said, “but I have told them to study first and then get involved in this. The more they study, the better magicians they will become since it all involves science and a little art.”