Malayalam film star Mohanlal in his new avtar as stage magicianStage magic is beginning to attract celebrities. Malayalam film star Mohanlal will be doing a Houdini escape act (Burning Illusion) in Thiruvananthapuram on April 27 as a prelude to the Vismaya 2008 magic fair to be attended by magicians from different parts of the world.

Earlier, Kerala Chief Secretary Lizzie Jacob, who could not do anything magical during her career, had turned up at the local Magic Academy of Gopinath Muthukad to learn magic. Now, Mohanlal, who inclination towards stage is already known, is undergoing intense training to do the escape act. That could make him the first film star to do the escape act, which had remained the domain of experienced magicians.

Magic has indeed become an attractive proposition to stage performers after Sorcar, Muthkad and others turned magic into glittering shows. Superstar Mohanlal has indeed found an opportunity here to stay in the limelight.

The Kerala State Youth Welfare Board with the Magic Academy is sponsoring the escape act. The reason cited is that the performance would be an inspiration for the youth to face hurdles. “It shows that you can escape from the clutches of bondage,” said Mohanlal.

We can only hope that it would not turn into inspiration for the youth to jump into fire. The Board should be warning the youth that they should not attempt risky acts without sufficient training. Discretion is the better part of valour. That should be the message of the Board to the youth when even Mohanlal’s family is asking whether he should be jumping into the fire.

Besides, magic is basically tricks and illusions. Such escape acts cannot see the youth through the hurdles of life. The youth should not hope to achieve anything magically. If welfare of the youth is the objective of the Board, it should cast its messages carefully.

Update ( 23/4/2008 ): Mohanlal’s programme has been cancelled in view of protests from fans and others who fear for his life. The Youth Welfare Board, which unnecessarily sponsored the programme, should be in a fix now. What message has Mohanlal’s withdrawal given to the youth? Runaway from difficult tasks?