Neel Madhav is an author, mentalist, illusionist and a TEDx speaker. His tricks include combining magic with mentalism, neuro-linguistic programming, and criminology. He was featured on Forbes Asia ‘30 under 30’ list for his contributions to sports and entertainment.
Neel is now presenting a television series called ‘You Got Magic with Neel Madhav’ on Sony BBC Earth. In an interview with Metrolife, Neel talks about the show, how he developed an interest in magic and more.
What background research goes into putting your tricks together?
There was a lot to prepare for. It’s called ‘You’ve Got Magic’, so whatever magic is happening on the show is done by the spectators. Irrespective of all the preparation, the thought process and effort put in goes null and void in the magic world, even if a decision goes wrong.
How is it to be a part of the new season?
I am very happy that all the patience and the persistence paid off. Even though everyone always told me that magic is only for passion and it cannot be a profession, I still stuck with it. Magic has given me direction in life.
What are some of the tricks that you like performing?
Anything to do with the mind is my stuff. Technically, you can use Criminology and Mentalism to create an illusion. I like doing that. I like to figure out people’s ATM pin (laughs). I actually know the ATM pin of most celebrities, sportspersons and politicians.
Is there a difference in your shows when you perform for celebrities and the ordinary people?
No. Ordinary people have emotions and so do celebrities. You perform the same thing for them. A celebrity reacts in the same way a normal person would. You can differentiate between urban and rural. That is a big difference I have seen. People who live in rural areas are curious about magic, they react to like they’ve not seen something like this before. An urbanite, obviously, knows about magic. So, if he knows that’s an art, he will appreciate and respect it.
They say your magic is a combination of mentalism, neuro-linguistic programming, and criminology. Could you elaborate?
The three combined allows you to figure out someone’s ATM pin, that is the secret behind my kind of magic. A combination of these help in creating a false sense of amnesia, making the audience think that their name is different from what it really is. There’s a false visual reality. It has a lot to do with playing tricks on the brain, which is why I think it’s a very interesting avenue to explore.
Which countries have you taken your show to?
I have been to 13 different cities in this season. Some of them are Jaisalmer, down south I visited Varkala and Thrissur. Then we went to the Pahalgam in Kashmir, Dehradun, Ludhiana, Allahabad, Ahmedabad, Agra and bunch of other places.
What are the challenges involved in performing the tricks?
No challenges. The thing is your perspective of magic is a little different than you think. This is how magic works — there’s a lot of research involved. Any layman would think there will be a lot of complications, and it will be there. So that’s where it gets a little challenging.