Magicians in West Bengal were witnessing a vanishing act of scheduled shows. With social distancing being the thumb rule during the nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of coronavirus, all magic shows had been cancelled since April.
Magicians were now struggling to keep themselves afloat and believed that it would take over a year to get bookings for regular shows.
“I had shows lined up in May and June. All have been cancelled as public gathering is now banned. I was even supposed to perform in Canada and Japan. All shows have now been postponed. If this continues, then it will be difficult for magicians to survive,” said magician Subrata Kumar Mukherjee.
Besides being a professional magician for nearly 26 years, Mukherjee was also an advocate at the Calcutta High Court. However, his second source of income also bore the brunt of lockdown. “Even the courts are closed now. There are reports that the lockdown is likely to be extended. If it does, then I will not get clients as well. It feels like the rope is being burnt from both ends,” said Mukherjee.
The situation was also grim for lesser-known magicians who were trying to establish themselves in this field.
Partha Roy, 48, who lived in a single room on the terrace of a three-storey house in Central Kolkata, said his life as a magician had been tough during the lockdown. “In April and May, I had 12 shows lined up. Each show would have fetched Rs 2,000. I am not hoping to get shows before next year. I will urge the state government to look into the pleas of magicians, especially the smaller ones,” said Partha, who performs in clubs, birthday parties and fairs.
For budding magician Arindam Bhoumik, 27, focusing on an alternative career was the only option now. “I have a part-time job in an engineering consultancy, while being a full-time magician. Since lockdown, I have not got a single call to perform in shows,” he said. With uncertainty staring at them, the magicians were now looking at their magic wands, hoping for some miracle to unfold.
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