The Great Sorcar: The World's Greatest Magician

by Ronald Murray Shanik, World Photographer & Journalist, Broadway, New York, USA

As the crowds pour into the Empire theatre in Calcutta I join them to witness the World's Greatest Magician- The Great SORCAR. Thus on a rainy monsoon day in August 1961, I had the thrill of my life, witnessing the greatest magic show, a breath-taking, tense colourful, dramatic spectacle. The Indian music, as it bounces along with fast colorful rhythm, was very lively and happy. It added considerably to the entertainment value of the show. The scenes move fast and hold the spectators spellbound. They are varied and break up the monotony of ordinary magic acts. The "Water of India", an extremely funny item, kept the audience amused. He held a small pitcher of water over a large pail and emptied it. Within a minute he lifted the pitcher again obviously full of water and emptied it again into the pail. This he kept doing throughout the show at frequent intervals, to the great mystification and amusement of all. The next scene showed an auto being driven on the stage. The Great Sorcar recited some magic formula and the auto just vanished into thin air. Next we see Sorcar walking through the audience with a jug full of milk in his right hand and a newspaper sheet folded into a conical container in his left hand. He pours the milk into the container and hands it over to one of the audience. And, lo! behold, the milk disappears. With a smile on his face the Great Sorcar beckoned me to the stage to enable me to view from close quarters and photograph his masterpiece. On a table, closely resembling the operating table in a hospital, were fitted powerful electric lights and a shining electric saw. A beautiful girl stood close by. Sorcar pressed a switch and the terrible electric saw began to move with whirring noise. Sorcar brought a block of wood near the sharp blade and its pieces flew over the heads of the audience. Having satisfied the audience that the saw was really businesslike, hypnotized the girl and laid her on the table. The saw moved lower. The audience held their breath. The saw obviously went through the frail body. Two of his assistants removed the two pieces of the body. Two of his assistants removed the two pieces of the body and took them away while the audience watched with bated breath. To remove the tension and relax the audience Sorcar ordered the girl to be brought back.Dressed in beautiful costume, holding a bouquet of flowers in her hand, her face wreathed in smiles, the girl walked on the stage amidst thunderous applause of the audience, none-the-worse for her horrifying experience. So packed with action thrills was the show, and so varied in themes and costumes, so full of light banter and humorous anecdotes that before you could say "Jack Robinson" the 2 1/2 hour show was over and the people were filing out of the theatre, their faces picturing the fun and amusement they had the pleasure of enjoying.