CHENNAI: Would you fire five guns at yourself, with only one loaded and ready to go ‘bang’ at the slightest pressure on the trigger? No? Well, who would! But, here is a man who has defied death through such an act on a famous National TV channel.
Meet Akshay Laxman, the mentalist-cum-Illusionist who will be performing in the city as part of a charity initiative ‘Magic of the Mind’ by Ladies Circle 133 and Round Table 159.
After his appearance on Carnival cruise lines in 2011, the mentalist has become popular all across the globe but, his entry into mentalism didn’t happen overnight.
“Like several others in my field, I was inspired by David Copperfield. I started doing magic and learning tricks when I was four. But as I grew up, I wanted my act to be more personal, something that my audience will find memorable,” he says.
So, from the classic ‘cup and balls’ trick to his famous ‘ghost touch’ act, Akshay has grown over the years. “Since I had an innate passion for psychology, I mixed my love for magic with it and jumped into mentalism!” he grins.
Though the man has earned a name for himself after appearing in several TV shows including India’s Got Talent and Entertainment Ke Liye Kuch Bhi Karega, he avers that the perception of audience needs to change in the way they look at people who ‘made it’.
“They think that we enter shows and one fine day, we suddenly become famous. No, it doesn’t work that way. I have been in this profession for several years and I have auditioned for all these shows even when I was 17. I got rejected several times and it has been a long journey…it doesn’t come easy. People only see the end result,” he says.
Today, he is known as the ‘Bollywood mentalist’ and has performed for several celebrities including Aamir Khan, Raju Hirani, Sanjay Dutt and Ranbir Kapoor. “Aamir Khan is the first major Bollywood star who invited me to his house to perform for him and his family. At the end, he even gave me a standing ovation. Similarly, Raju Hirani, Sanjay Dutt and Ranbir Kapoor are favourite celebrities — they have immensely encouraged me and they respect the art form,” he shares.
Talking about the growing number of mentalists in the country, he says that several myths need to be broken for audience to experience an untainted performance. “In mentalism, we can distract ones current feelings and emotions for a certain period of time – to make them feel better. But, we cannot take it away, be it happiness, sorrow or anything else. So, people should not fall for fake promises, when someone says that they will make you overcome emotions forever!” he explains.
The most absurd request he has received from his audience? “Well, I wouldn’t call it absurd. It’s just that they need to learn about the art to know what it can do. When I perform, many are afraid that I might read their minds and reveal that he/she has cheated on their wife/husband, or in exams.
Some even want me to bring their boyfriend/girlfriend back, find lost jewelry and talk to spirits! There is no such super power involved!” he clarifies. His dream stage is at the MGM GRAND, Las Vegas and reveals to CE about his new trick! “I am working on how to unlock phone passwords. So, people better be careful!” he quips.
(Catch him perform on March 10 at Chinmaya Heritage Centre, Chetpet 8 pm onwards. For passes, visit: www.chennaiyil.com
or call: 9841366133)