Suhaani Shah is disrupting and redefining the magic space in India with an ability to read minds with remarkable accuracy. The magician recently joined NewsX for an exclusive conversation as part of NewsX Influencer A-List and shared art of mentalism, how she learnt, experience of being a woman magician and much more.
Speaking about the concept of mentalism and who is a mentalist, she said, “In India, mentalist profession is not too popular. To explain in layman’s language, magic is the parent category under which there are different genres such as illusionism, escapology, street magic, parlour magic and mentalism. So, it is sub genres of magic. You can also call me a magician and as a magician, I expertise more as a mentalist. In mentalism, there are no props. It’s just mentalist and people and their minds become prop. Mentalist is a magician who does magic without props, just by trying to read or giving an illusion of reading people’s minds, influencing and getting information out from them.”
Talking about how she learnt mentalism, she shared, “I haven’t learnt it from anywhere but I started performing magic in general when I was 7 years old. In the process of doing stage shows, it was mixed of all magic genres. I used to do proper stage shows by traveling city to city. Few years back, I realised that was too much. If I wanted to get into corporate sector and level up my game, I need to do something because stand-up comedy had taken over the country. I realised it’s important to capitalize on that as well. So, what I did was, from an illusionist I started to adapt into mentalism. I did an entire show of mentalism and the videos went viral. I never took formal training for anything in terms of magic. My transformation was slow, but then, 2017 was the time when I turned into mentalist and decided to continue as I loved it the most.”
Sharing the advantages and disadvantages of being a women digital content creator in a digital space, she said, “There have been lots of disadvantages. Even before starting YouTube live streaming and taking up digital space, I was really worried of being trolled. But when I started, there was lot of love. I think I was overthinking negativity a lot. A lot of times, its projection of what you are doing. It was not that I never got negativity. What I realised, which I still do even after a year and having million subscribers on YouTube, is that I am not allowed to make mistakes as a woman. I have seen my co-streamers from the other gender making mistakes, which is taken in a fun. Although I am learning to be thick skin to negative comments but it still affects at sometimes. I have known my co-female creators getting threats just for being opinionated and putting out their views. I feel it’s just reflection of our culture, the more the women come out, face these things and be vocal about it, the safer space they’ll be creating for themselves. There are more men than women on internet, that needs to change. It will happen in its own time.”
When asked about what does it feels like to be a women magician, she responded, “The moment you say magician, nobody ever think of a woman and I don’t know why. It’s like an identity threat to me. To be honest, I didn’t think of this till a few years back when another journalist had asked me this question. I am not massively involved in Indian magic communities, so I didn’t know what’s scene there. I didn’t really think of pros and cons. I have to keep my guards up and keep myself safe. I just focus on my craft and work.”
She concluded by sharing her content creators community’s present needs and said, “What I think is needed is to create safe space on internet. I am speaking as a person on digital space. People commenting on internet needs to be kinder, people creating content needs to be more careful. It’s very important to be wise and thoughtful of what we are putting on internet.