"If you examined his blood, you would find nothing but magic in it." the late Raj Kapoor a true visionary once said about K.Lal.
Magic is the essence of K. Lal's life. Starting from the tender age of 7 and 70 years hence, he still strives to dedicate his life to this great scientific and technical art. He brings honour to his country by spreading the glory of Indian Magic in every corner of the world.
K.Lal whose full name is Kantilal Vora was born in Bagasra, a tiny village near Rajkot, in Gujarat. K.Lal's grandfather being the Nager Seth (village chief) of Bagasra, the family was extremely influential. Due to which the rural entertainers (singers,magicians, jugglers etc.) took their halt at their residence, while performing at Bagasra.Although his parents disapproved, Lal had his first lessons in magic from his guests.
In the early thirties Lal's family's migration to Calcutta for trading in cloth, gave him the golden opportunity to experiment in "the land of magicians" - Calcutta.
A visit to Ganapati's magic show in Calcutta with his uncle, became the turning point in Lal's life. Backstage K.Lal's explanation to Ganapati, as to how the "human skeleton dance" was performed, left the magician impressed beyond words. He not only prophesised K.Lal's world fame as a magician, but also offered to teach him magic.
After putting his parents doubts of "black magic" at rest, K.Lal went on to pursue his career as a magician at the young age of 15. From here on there was no looking back for him. Academic pursuits took a back seat to his dedication to magic.
Riots in Calcutta in the early forties, forced the family to go back to Gujarat. Much to the anger of his family, Lal gave his first public performance here. Some people even misconstrued his talent as black magic and supernatural powers. Only after his convincing them that magic is "sleight of hand" and nothing else, did people stop avoiding him, and start appreciating his talent.
Visit to Japan
K.Lal and Jr.K.Lal performed their first show in Japan in 1969. Following it's success they visited Japan 18 times, covering 61 cities. Their shows which were televised gained them popularity with the Japanese.
On returning to Calcutta, K.Lal discovered much to his sorrow the sad demise of his Guru, Ganapati Chakraborty. But fortunately for him, another Calcutta based magician, Geeta Kumar became his new guru.
From here on it was a climb to fame. His first professional show was at Roxy Theatre in Calcutta, in 1951. His performance in Bombay was no less impressive, and went on for a hundred days.
He began holding shows all over India, collected a troupe, invested in props , sets and a wide variety of costumes, and decided to call his show as 'Mayajal' (The web of illusion).
Over the years, he and his troupe covered various countries. To date Lal is said to have performed 16,800 shows, (up to Dec. 1996). In 1968, in the USA, the International bureau of magicians awarded him the title of the worlds fastest and greatest magician.
Lal changed the concept of magic from a dark, gloomy and scary show, to one that is bright, cheerful, and entertaining, comparable to anything in the tinsel world. This boy, who rose to become the president of the society, through his iron will and determination,
also became an unofficial cultural ambassador to India.
Honoured by Mrs. Indira Gandhi
Our Late Prime Minister Mrs. Indira Gandhi learnt about K.Lals talents only during her visit to Japan, from the then Japanese Prime Minister Mr. Bhagaya Tak. Lal being busy with his commitments, only met Mrs. Indira Gandhi when she invited him during her visit to Bombay. At the end of the performance a part of her saree caught fire. Security guards came rushing pointing their guns at K.Lal. But nothing happened either to the saree, or to Mrs. Gandhi. It was only an illusion. With a hearty laugh she bid farewell to Lal.
With a collective troupe of 45 members working in front and back stage, K.Lal works 18 hours a day, practicing and innovating. To K.Lal, magic is nothing but a conditioning of the mind. Audience perceives only what he wants them to. "I am so obsessed with my show that even when I sleep I'm not free of it. Many of my ideas come to me in my dreams." -says K.Lal. "Through our item, ' Water of India' we spread the message of national integration that although we differ with language and religion, yet we are all one-Indians."
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