Vivek Desai, illusionist recently joined us for an exclusive conversation as part of NewsX Influencer A-list series. Identifying himself as a young magician, he specializes in card tricks and possesses other illusionist skills.

He said, “I was fearing the challenge at the start of the pandemic, how do I bring what I love the most, which is card tricks and close up illusions to a virtual audience and this is the first trick I came up with so I will share it with you. First of all, I am going to go through these cards and you can see that they are all genuinely different. So I am going to give a quick shuffle to it. You have your wallet with you, right? I didn’t tell you to bring a specific wallet. And do you have cash in it? Show it. What I am going to do is take three cards that I just shuffled. So, there is a two, there is a nine and there is a four. Do me a favour and look at the last three digits of that note.

The last three digits of the note that was picked out were 294. When asked how he did that he said, “I travelled from Pune to Delhi a couple of days ago when I found out that the interview is happening and I snugged the note into your wallet.”

When asked about how his journey has been like he said, “I do own India’s largest comedy festival. That is one thing I do besides performing. And now of course I create and stream content on Youtube. But primarily I like to call myself a magician first because I enjoy doing that the most. I started when I was 10 or 11 just to impress my friends. I kept performing looking for validation. Then I realized it can actually sustain me. So I started performing professionally.”

When asked what age did he started performing he said, “Around 15-16. I did those gigs to earn pocket money. My parents were never strict but they were disciplined about how they gave me pocket money. There was a gaming console called Nintendo and my parents were like, ‘your exams are coming up.’ So I was like what if I own the money? They said, okay, if you can do it, go ahead. And I actually went ahead and did it so they were surprised.”

When asked about how he learnt his tricks he said, “Cards is something that I had to learn but the unique way in which I present them is something that I taught myself while performing.”

Commenting upon social media as a means to gain traction he said, “Social media helps us value ourselves in a way we otherwise would not have been able to. Why will someone want to buy a ticket for your show if they don’t know what you are doing? It is absolutely necessary to have content online but how often you post it is a separate thing. There are comedians who have 3-4 videos but all of them have 25-30 million views. They have more tickets than someone with 20-30 videos. But you definitely need to have a presence, it is non-negotiable.”

Talking about what the illusionist community needs he said, “We need more people getting good numbers on social media, both Instagram and Youtube. That will help to break out of the stereotype.”

When asked how budding magicians need to be treated for their future he said, “I keep coming back to comedy because it is the closest example I can give to a successful stage art in India. If there is a said path, you put something on Youtube, it does well, you start doing ticketed shows, then you start getting brand work, you start getting corporate shows. I don’t know if there is a same path for magic. We need more people to become successful.”

Watch the interview here: