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'
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
"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
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
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