You must have seen the stupendous magic acts done mostly by male magicians and it has always been fascinating for all of you to watch. But you have rarely seen a girl doing magic not only by her looks but by her real magic tricks. Suhani Shah is a magician and is the only female who has been fascinating India as a magician for about the past two decades. The profession she chose is something not all would think of pursuing.
She likes to call herself a ‘magician’, unlike the term ‘illusionist’ that has been popularized by those who are professional, well, magicians. “It is what magic is, and magic has made my life, so magician is the best word for it, no matter how much one tries to guide it with fancier terms,” she says.
What made her choose to be a magician?
Suhani says, “Since my childhood, I always wanted to do something different, something unique. Everybody wanted to become a teacher, a dancer, an engineer, etc. Magic was what attracted me the most. It gave me the platform to stand out from the crowd.
Secondly, as a child, I used to love magic shows on TV. I was always curious to know how they performed this or that act. So, magic always managed to get my full attention.
Thirdly, my parents’ support. Initially, when I told them that I want to do magic, they didn’t think about it that seriously. But when they saw how really serious I was about the matter, they gave me their full support. So these three things basically helped me get to the place I am today.”
Suhani could not complete her school
She could not complete her schooling after class 1. But still, her vocabulary is rich. “It has not been easy for me. As a child, my parents made the decision for me that I would be homeschooled, because at times I would have shows abroad and my exams in school. And that was when I told my parents that I want to perform. They honoured my wishes but also made sure that my education was complete,” she says.
There was an era of magicians in India – the glittery capes, the golden-laced turbans. That was the era of K Lal and P. C. Sorcar. Suhani, as a child would perform in the same way. “But I changed my game after that, and so have other young illusionists. The problem is that people still have the same image in mind, and it has become a challenge for us to change that. However, the mushrooming of stand up acts across the country has helped even us magicians in understanding the audience better and modifying our acts accordingly. But magic still needs to work its way through people’s minds. If you check, there was not very great material available of Indian magicians online,” she says.
Suhani is a clinical hypnotherapist, corporate trainer, author and a counsellor too. She has even given several Ted talks on how magic and psychology are connected to each other. “Magic as a whole has helped me understand people better, which is what has led me on a path of helping them – whether in solving their problems or staying motivated,” she says.
Suhani plans to help more and more people through her counselling and therapies and writing even more books.