By Radhika Bhirani
New Delhi, Jan 6 (IANS) Magic with comedy, magic with competition or just pure magic - the flavour of magic seems to be in vogue thanks to television and live shows.
Magic shows on TV aren't new, but a sudden spurt has been seen in the genre as channels like SAB TV and Nickelodeon experiment with it.
While SAB TV decided to give a shot to magic-comedy with two new shows - "Ring Wrong Riing" and "Gili Gili Gappa" - children's entertainment channel Nickelodeon is set to launch the second season of "Tricky TV" that will teach magic tricks to children.
"Magic has always catered as an entertainment podium not only for the kids but also for grown-ups. It is intriguing and has always had its own charm. I don't think the interest in magic will ever die down," Anu Sikka, associate vice president, Programming and Scheduling, Nickelodeon India, told IANS.
Though the interest in magic never faded, its visibility on the small screen had certainly subsided after shows like "Son Pari", "Shararat" and "Meri Biwi Wonderfool" went off air.
Hence SAB TV officials decided it is the best time to enter the genre of magic-based comedy shows.
"We have always experimented with new kinds of comedies with gangster comedies, silent comedies, courtroom comedies...we have done the length and breadth of sub-genres of comedy. So we wanted to present magic comedy this time," Anooj Kapoor, executive vice president and business head of SAB TV, told IANS.
"We know magic comedy is not a new genre, but it wasn't being shown on any channel, so there could be no better time than now to launch these shows," added Kapoor.
"Ring Wrong Riing" is about a dutiful housewife who is gifted a magical ring by her father-in-law and how things often get out of hand, leading to funny situations.
"Gili Gili Gappa" is about a god-sent angel with magical powers.
Why did the channel launch two shows of the same type together?
"SAB TV is known for providing daily comedy, but it is very difficult to produce a daily magic comedy considering the time it takes to add special effects. So two different shows have been launched to cater to the audiences.
"We cannot compromise on the quality of special effects because it is a pertinent factor in the storytelling of a magic comedy show, where misfired magic is what often gives comical repercussions," said Kapoor.
Magic has also been experimented with in the reality space with shows like STAR One's "India's Magic Star" and Sony TV's "Comedy Circus Ka Jadoo". The former saw American magician Franz Harary as the judge to choose India's best upcoming star, while the latter saw stand-up comedians interspersing magic tricks in their acts.
"Magic started in India around 5,000 years ago and eventually became popular. But shortly after it was invented, it became stagnant. There is a whole lot of it to come out," Harary had told IANS in an earlier interview.
The 45-year-old, who once made the Taj Mahal disappear, said he has seen immense talent for magic in India and would love to do his bit for the craft to regain its position.
"I love India, I love everything that Indian magic stands for. Anything that I can do and in whatever way I am open for all that," he said.
Harary has kept his promise and is now also returning to do daily live shows at Gurgaon-based Kingdom of Dreams starting next week.
He will be performing six days a week at the Nautanki Mahal, where Bollywood musical "Zangoora - The Gypsy Prince" is staged.