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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Magic names and the media » » A chance meeting with Indian Master Magician Aladin (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

gorandehuyt
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*After I wrote all the below I did some serious Google and came up with some exciting discoveries which meant that I should have written this post again to use the material. I thought I just leave it and say that my discoveries are links at the bottom*

This has be on my mind now a few years. I am going to tell you about Aladin but just as interesting are the three magicians he got most inspired by and who he thinks are the world's greatest magicians or card workers.

I want to mention about 2011 and accidentally stumbling on easily the best sleight of hand artiste I ever saw - a master from Bangalore in India called Aladin. Bear with me. Was the most incredible experience of my life so far, twenty six so far.

It was not with magicians but somewhere as far from that as you can imagine in London. You all might know about Trafalgar Square I am sure. Near to it is 'Pall Mall' and on a corner is a tall building with the New Zealand Embassy called 'New Zealand House'. Right on the first floor is a buzzing place where all the cream of 'social business' have their club called 'Hub Westminster'.

So the story for me is that my girlfriend is there in 2011 and she invites me to come to a party. And it's not what you imagine. It's movers and shakers who are in the British Government and really cool people running businesses which do 'social good'. We are about 50 I guess milling round a big cool place, all windows looking out, standing in small groups with our drinks. After a while I notice a half circle listening quite seriously to a slim guy who looks thirties maybe late twenties. I latch onto this group and it's really inspiring hearing this guy talk about actually better ways to work which are small, subtle changes but anyhow have a big impact. I find out that he is a Professor in London who helps the government and the world's biggest companies and also community groups in this subject.

A very cool woman at some point says "You know he is one of the world's greatest magicians". Now I had not heard his name clearly and so I asked someone next to me who said 'Aladin'. Something twanged in my head and I remember hearing this name before but it is just very obscure and I couldn't remember exactly what. Woman goes to her desk somewhere, this is all open plan by the way, and brings out a Poker deck. The next twenty minutes I can honestly say was the biggest head trip all of us ever had in our lives or will ever likely have.

Aladin hands the cards to somebody to shuffle in his hands as we are standing and he just quietly keeps talking about social business which I know sounds strange but was in itself truly inspiring. He takes the cards back and just looks through them and asks any of us to mention a card. All this part took I think half a minute - definitely not more than 45 seconds even. We are all watching closely and he is handling the cards unlike a magician more like a lay man just quite small slow uneven actions the whole deck face up everything visible I can not emphasise this point. I was literally at his left elbow and the about couple of dozen by now crowding him all angles looking to catch him out. He riffle shuffles a couple of times and gives the deck .. to me! The cards feel 'stepped' and out of maybe not wanting to show him up I keep them carefully that way.

Aladin repeats the name of the card aloud and asks me to cut the cards. I do this three times and no luck finding the cards. I have to be honest and say I tried to help him and cut to where I felt he had culled the card to basically to the steps; I think this was a little obvious and really the steps were visible to anybody. So this is embarrassing for all of us as he has basically stumbled at the first step three times. He looks puzzled and asks me to deal the cards out face up.

Now please know I have seen Dani Daortiz and Tamariz many times fool magicians and also Leonard Greene from Sweden. When I dealed the cards out after seven cards I began to sweat and the people around go nuts. In about half a minute, apparently just quite slowly looking the cards and then giving what I thought were two clean shuffles Aladin had put the cards in suits with the card spoken out loud out of sequence in a suit of the opposite colour. Let me tell you it was absolutely numbing. It was so unexpected and so clean my head began pounding. I started to have fantastic thoughts that maybe I was seeing some cleaned up variation on angle separation but until now I do not know how he can separate all four suits just looking through once and that without detection; this last point I have to say I rate more than anything I have ever seen live or video of any card man anywhere.

Aladin then got a few of us to mix up the cards and now with all of us burning his hands he again looks through the cards and without much fuss gets one of us to cut the deck and it turns up a Queen which is now put on top of the deck. So the deck is face down in his left hand and asks someone to turn over the top card, and we can see it is still the Queen which he replaces face down. He asks people to hold their hands out and he without any moves we can see and really with no hurry puts a card supposedly from the top of the deck face down in the hands of four people. Now four people have a card face down in their palm and we are confused. We saw a Queen and now he deals out four cards; so imagine our surprise when we see the four cards are all Kings, and he explains the Queen gave birth to them! Which I know is logical as a plot but stuns us all the same and there I am wondering how did he deal seconds again with us burning his hands and I guess keeping the Queen on top all the way for four second deals, pausing after he did each one and basically actually getting us to stare at the deck at the point he must have been doing the second deal! He was blatantly taking on the killer pressure of getting us to stare at the top card or cards at the exact point he must be pulling seconds out.

I said twenty minutes was how long we stood around Aladin and you think he did two tricks only. Let me tell you what he was saying all along was nothing about magic just chatting with us about the world economy and British politics in such an enlightening way. It was the most inspiring experience. He was not trying to push the magic at any point but was just understated and really interested genuinely in everything people were talking about, I mean politics and economics. I have never heard of magic blending like this in a conversation which was getting all of us talking. He really was what you would want to be a Professor, he was very learned but sharing everything he knew and asking questions and hearing everybody else far longer than he was talking.

So of course we are reeling in shock and excitement, as if we had just been swallowed up in a time warp experience. So now I just showed my hand by talking about FISM which he had no interest in but he listened politely. I asked him about how he had come up with his techniques. He made a deep frown and said he was not actually so enamoured with techniques but used a few sleights which he tended to use a lot but always in a way that you would see lay men handle cards. In other words he didn't handle the cards in any way that made you think he might be a magician. He actually handled them like what I guess the great hustlers and middle and bottom dealers have done which is that there's no slick look but neither does he use speed or jerky movements for cover. Difficult to explain but I have never seen anything like it. If you see Michael Vincent who slayed Penn and Teller Michael just reeks of magic moves and magic smoothness while Aladin just looks unimpressive in how he holds the cards yet the results are not only at least as effective but it is just astounding how he does the opposite of taking attention away from his hands. It is just as if he is challenging himself beyond the limits that slick card pros like Mike Vincent or my own favourite legend Ricky Jay. Ricky handles cards very confidently and forcefully and you expect miracles, same as Leonard Greene. But Aladin does not do any showboating he is just completely stripped down.

So I was saying I asked Aladin for who every impressed him. He does not like this question but says that he saw a hustler called 'Gary Osbourne' in the early 1980s in London who used to be a friend of comedian and magician Jerry Sadowitz. He said that ten years later, about twenty years ago he Aladin, Leonard Green, Spanish magician Carlos Vaquera and a few others did a late night session in London where Osbourne took Leonard's cards and in Aladin's words completely 'bamboozled' some of the world's greatest card magicians with his second and middle dealing. Aladin said that might possibly be the greatest card session he or Leonard or the others ever saw. Aladin said that he and Leonard, Vaquera and the others could not detect Osbourne was second or middle dealing as much as they burned his hands watching. In the end Osbourne was dealing hands while looking away from the cards! I have to say I could not believe this part but Aladin was dead serious. So when I ask how could I get to see Osbourne Aladin says I can't as he had a stroke and so can't deal like he used to. Until now I was completely believing Aladin but this did seem like an incredible story, I mean how can you describe somebody you never heard of and then say he had a stroke so there is no way to check! But Aladin was just as softly spoken as he had been an hour earlier talking economics and so on and he just shrugged when I looked sceptical.

So I asked Aladin who else he rated and he mentioned 'Nana' or even 'Nano' or 'Nanu' from near the south Indian city of Bangalore from where Aladin has family. He was a farmer who according to Aladin was the greatest cups and balls operator he had ever seen; apparently Aladin and Bob Sheets went to India about twenty years back and this guy won a competition they were judging. Nano did things Sheets and Aladin had never seen done before and did everything sitting cross legged on the ground. As he was a farmer he did not do the magic scene so again unfortunately no way of verifying.

So I ask Aladin for any other names and he mentions Jeff Sheridan which was a little bit predictable as I think we all know about him, he started as the street magician from Central Park in New York who taught Copperfield and inspired David Blaine supposedly and now does cabaret in Germany. But actually Aladin was not talking about Sheridan as card manipulator and sleight of hand legend he actually referred to Sheridan as his friend who is a Fine Artist and sculptor and has been making amazing objects since the 1960s which are in museum shows and so on. He said that Sheridan was a throwback 'Surrealist' artist who combined art with magic in his shows in Germany. Aladin says that Sheridan was the greatest thinker and intellectual in magic it is just that it goes over the heads of magicians! He said that among artists Sheridan was really highly rated for his mind and that he was a close friend of very famous French artist Louis Bourjois.

So it has been with me for a couple of years and I just had to write down for history firstly seeing with my own eyes maybe one of the world's greatest magicians who more or less does not do shows but if you meet him you might see him demonstrate magic which you could only dream of. But the way he talked about Gary Osbourne, Nano and Jeff Sheridan just showed what a great thinker and gentleman he is; he was totally respecting and admiring of these three who he said were in their speciality beyond what he Aladin could do. Of course I can say that I think Aladin is easily in that kind if company; a great person, and truly legendary magician.

He mentioned these two things he did which was a film called 'Magicians' and also 'Book Of Cool'. He is in both of them but really I have them and his parts are wonderful but he is not showing what I saw him do. He has some websites of his own http://www.magicaladin.com is often off line and http://www.mughalmagician.com more his Indian style.

Oh I should now mention that of course Aladin could not possibly be in his twenties? in fact he was in his 50s but I swear he looked about my age. Weird.

*To finish the story I had a most happy surprise to discover that Gary Osbourne was Gazzo Macee! And I found a few links for Nanu. What an amazing slice of history to to share with you these descriptions of magic legends*

http://www.hindu.com/mp/2004/07/29/stori......0200.htm
http://www.indianmagicians.com/magichist......hakunnam
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gazzo_(magician)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_Irving_Scott
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Phantom_of_the_Card_Table
gorandehuyt
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Gary Osbourne 'Gazzo Macee' it was his famous 'punched second deal' that Aladin and Leonard Greene experienced. Nanu is now known as a magician but I think Aladin knew him from before he turned pro. Louis Bourjois should actually be Louise Bourgeis - she was the close friend of Jeff Sheridan.
gorandehuyt
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Correction it is Lennart Green not Leonard Green.

Also Aladin actually mentioned it was almost 25 years ago he was in the late night early morning card session in London with Gazzo, Lennart Green and Carlos Vaquera so this must be late 1980s. This session which fooled all the top card men was then definitely at Ron Macmillan International Magic Convention. Lennart Green and Carlos Vaquera all won this competition and also Gazzo the next year in 1989.

It seems the real legends meet private and until I wrote this I do not think anybody apart of David Britland who wrote about how Gazzo learned his techniques http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gazzo_(magician) has ever refer to how this second and middle dealer fooled the best in the world in one place. Here is the book of David Britland and Gazzo http://www.amazon.com/David-Britland/e/B......el_pop_1 which is Phantoms of the Card Table. So I am now very interested that maybe only two times in the last twentieth century has there been a chance that the top card men were all fooled by second deal. The first occasion must be 1930 with Walter Irving Scott who trained Gazzo in 1980s http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_Irving_Scott and the last and second time was Gazzo who did this in 1989 when we know for sure Aladin also Lennart Green and Carlos Vaquera joined with him in the same period that they would be in London for Ron Macmillan Convention.

Now as I said the second deal from Aladin was not possible to see it was completely clean except Aladin implied it was different to and also nowhere near the standard of Gazzo in this session late night in London. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_Irving_Scott http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Phantom_of_the_Card_Table S

So Gazzo is truly the SECOND Phantom of the Card Table but also tragic that he had stroke, this is in Wikipedia, at the same time that Walter Irving Scott died. So really that was the death of two phantoms in one year. It is so interesting to consider this information. There is now Gazzo on Penn and Teller from 2011 and you can see he is great with cups and balls but something is wrong with his left hand so of course he can not do second deal http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xlwkHiuDNTo

I return again to Aladin and I should say yes he is still in my opinion the world'g greatest magician except he says Gazzo, Jeff Sheridan and Nanu of India reached the highest standard. For me Aladin is genuine Phantom himself.
Prahlad
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I read this only now (almost the end of 2018). What an amazing story!
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