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Illuminating the Buddha with lasers

July 2006
Illuminating the Buddha with lasers

As the children of the legendary P.C. Sorcar, Manick Sorcar and his siblings have followed in the footsteps of a virtuoso who was not only their father but also the Father of Indian Magic. But unlike the pioneering Sorcar, who won wide renown for the "Indrajal" shows in his heyday, the low-key son is a 21st-century magician whose repertory doesn't include the traditional bag of tricks, however impressive they may be. Manick Sorcar, in fact, uses laser technology to create his visually appealing spectacles. Seems appropriate, considering that as an engineer who owns a company in Colorado, he has done lighting designs for Denver International Airport and other facilities. Earlier this year, Sorcar and his company won a top achievement award from the International Laser Display Association (ILDA) for a show titled ‘Enlightenment of Buddha'. The Buddhist Channel on TV has described it as "an extravaganza of dance, drama and magic that combines life-size laser-animation and three dimensional laser effects in space." Mostly live actors participate in a setting where, as Sorcar puts it, the narrow laser beam works like an artist's paintbrush. Another project focusing on the Buddha will be the work of Hiro Yamagata, a Japanese artist who plans to visually recreate, with the help of laser wizardry, the giant Bamiyan statues that were destroyed by the Taliban in 2001. Provided everything goes smoothly, the installation of this ambitious project in Afghanistan will be done by 2009. Speaking of the life of Buddha, there is now a 2-hour musical play called Sidd, whose 7-member cast includes Manu Narayan (of Bombay Dreams) in the lead role. Having completed a run on Broadway, it is expected to tour nationally next year.

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