File Photo of psychological illusionist Karan Singh Magic. (Press Trust of India)

A hypnotist, magician and mind reader, Delhi-based illusionist Karan Singh ‘Magic’ uses audience as his only prop while performing on stage, writes Rajan Sharma. – @siliconeer #siliconeer #Magic #Magician #India #KaranSinghMagic #Illusion #Illusionist #MerchantofMenace #DerrenBrown #SteveJobs #iamSRK #ShahRukhKhan

Known to be India’s foremost illusionists, Singh does not like calling himself a magician because using psychology for illusions is his forte.

“When I told people that I’m a magician, they always asked me to cut people in half or take a rabbit out of a hat.

Middle-aged men at corporate shows asked me to make their wives disappear.

“I realized I needed a new term for myself which would draw curiosity, and using psychology for my illusions was my forte, hence, Psychological Illusionist it became,” Singh told PTI in an interview.

The artist, who recently performed his show ‘Merchant of Menace’ at Siri Fort Auditorium in Delhi, creates stories while engaging his audience.

Based on Shakespeare, his shows are a perfect mix of acting and magic where the audience decides every aspect of the show.

“I take the audience and we create a story together. It’s the only show I’ve ever been aware of where everyone in the audience decides every little aspect of the show. My recent show is based on my love for stories as a child and Shakespeare while studying theatre,” he says.

From dressing up as Aladdin while performing in kids birthday parties to doing shows for corporate giants like Apple, Google and Bollywood stars, he says his journey was an uphill battle but a beautiful one.

“I would convince my teachers in school that I was carrying playing cards to do magic and not to gamble. During board exams, my parents would confiscate all my props. It was a challenge to convince them,” he says.

“It was an unheard profession so creating a market and demand was by far the biggest challenge.”

Singh is influenced by the stage persona of Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan as a performer.

“My three biggest influences in life are British magician Derren Brown, Shah Rukh Khan and Steve Jobs,” he says.

His trick where he meets someone for the first time in and figures out their ATM pin or phone passwords, has influenced many.

“I learned hypnosis in 2013. Not the hypnosis you see on television or in movies or hear stories of but the one where you merely talk to people and help them make important decisions in their lives,” he says.

Singh’s first brush with magic happened at the age of 11 when he learnt some tricks from a magician and was always excited to show them to every single person he met.

“I had gone for a summer camp at the age of 11 where I met a magician who taught me a couple of tricks. That got me hooked and I’ve learned more and more ever since.

“I was so excited to show them to every single person around me that it reached a point that everyone figured out how those tricks were done. So I went back to the drawing board, did more research and started doing tricks which would leave people with more of an impact,” he recalls.

He plans to tour a “magic show” next year around the country.