Sorcar's 'animagic' conjures up new tricks
(Reproduced from The Times of India, 'Entertainment' section, thursday, Mar 9, 2000)

With his grooming in the enigmatic world of magic, sorcery and illusive stage performances in the country's best known magician family, Manick Sorcar's peers expected him only to further the 'abracadabra' legend.
But the eldest son of the legendary P C Sorcar had a trick of his own conjured up at the back of his mind ever since he took to painting his father's mammoth sets -- a trick he calls 'animagic'.

With a heady cocktail of his father's unforgettable sleight and cutting edge laser animation, Sorcar has set a trend for this parallel art form, which took the western world by a storm and was introduced in India last winter.

Using an intense beam of monochromatic color originating from gas or diode and amplified by electrical energy, Sorcar combines a dazzling level of artistry with computer wizardry to manipulate these beams of light to race along predetermined paths and create stills or scenes or figures in motion on a screen.

The sheer virtuosity of the finished product is so impressive that when watching the swift whirling of Sorcar's laser animation, the viewer forgets the painstaking months of computer programming, research, sketching and technical organisation that are behind the magic.

"Laser is extraordinarily versatile in its application -- it is hard enough to penetrate rocks in geological excavations, yet gentle enough to perform an eye surgery," says Denver-based Sorcar about his 'animagic wand'.

In his first ever thematic laser animation Calcutta Forever, which the wizard put up at the Biswa Bangla Sammelan here recently, Sorcar harnessed the power of the laser, a medium that is poised on the threshold of the new millennium.

Apart from the thematic laser show, Sorcar has woven magic with a series of other animation films including Deepa and Rupa, a 30-minute animation mixed with live action and based on fairy tale from Bengal.

Sorcar's eldest daughter Piya plays the lead in the film and has been nominated for a regional Emmy. The movie itself bagged the gold plaque for the best children's show at the Chicago International Film Festival and silver and bronze medals at the International Film Festival at New York.

Another 10-minute animagic wonder The Sage and the Mouse, based on a popular story from the Panchatantra, also received the gold and silver medals at the same festival.

"I take pride in the fact that my animations teach American children diverse origins and positive values through the medium of Indian culture," Sorcar says.

Sorcar has a few first's up his sleeve. While Calcutta Forever was the first laser animation based on a thematic story to be screened in a theatre, Deepa and Rupa was recorded as the first Indian animation mixed with live action.

Regarded as cultural bridges between the east and the west, his creations are popular at American schools and are telecast in several public broadcasting channels abroad.

No flimsy props or makeshift banners here. Sorcar handpaints all rural icons -- a drummer here, a pair of village maidens with one doing up the other's hair, a boatman, tall palm trees and billowing paddy fields -- his stage shows encompass all this and more.

Sorcar explored different forms of art ranging from fine arts and music to application in mixed media. P C Sorcar's dedicated audience still rave about the paintings, the accordion and orchestra pit and the innovative electrical lighting effects for various magical acts.

An electrical engineer from the Banaras Hindu University and a master from the University of Washington at Seattle, Sorcar's inclination to scientific pursuits came naturally.

So did penning of Rapid Lighting Design and Cost Estimating and Architectural Lighting for Commercial Interiors. The latter is recommended by the Department of Energy of the US government for the federal energy management program.

"But this success in engineering did not take away my love for the arts. By the day, I am a full-time engineer as Prafulla Chandra Sorcar, and at night, I transform into Manick Sorcar to pursue art till the wee hours of the morning," he says, eyes gleeming at the very thought of art.

His latest production The Woodcutter's Daughter, where his younger daughter Payal plays the lead role, is close to his heart. "Indian fables are the best I've ever seen. They touch the innermost cords of one's heart".

Beyond the technical genius, Sorcar's animagic has an emotionally charged content, so very peculiar to its creator's persona.

"Adults recognise the cultural accessibility in these productions through this exciting new medium and this teaches generations of children all over the world to appreciate and understand the rich heritage of Bengali culture," he says.

His thirst for novelty, however, does not end here. "I plan to create virtual reality chambers inside theatres wherein the audience will be surrounded within fantastic laser beams creating an aura of absolute mystique," he says about his forthcoming venture.



Copyright © 2018, Manick Sorcar Productions