Malaysian wins Merlin award, the ‘Oscar’ for magicians

merlin awardPETALING JAYA: Magic can be more than just a hobby. This is especially true for Malaysian Vikneswaran Allagu who holds a diploma and degree in the field of magic.

His love for the craft began when he was merely 17. Now 28, Vikneswaran or Vikey as he is more commonly known, is the proud recipient of a Merlin Award – the highest award given internationally in the field of magic and illusion.

Vikey edged out several competitors to emerge top in the “Best Multi-Talented Magician” category, in a presentation ceremony held in Bangkok, Thailand last week..

“I used to perform as a clown in parties and I came across a magician doing his tricks at one of the events,” Vikey told FMT, when met recently.

“After the party, I asked him how he did his tricks and he told me to go seek the information myself,” he said, adding that particular piece of advice set him on a quest to learn everything he could about magic.

The search eventually led him to a magic school in Bangkok.

His father, a veterinary doctor, and mother, an executive at the Indian Chamber of Commerce, did not discourage Vikey from pursuing his love of magic.

“My father told me, whatever you do, just don’t spoil your life,” he recalled.

Taking his father’s advice to heart, Vikey performed in roadshows organised by various corporate companies nationwide in various disciplines of magic, including street magic, stage magic, comedy magic and clown magic.

He kept this up for a few years before starting his own events and entertainment company.

Talking about his latest win, Vikey said he initially thought someone was trying to prank him when he received an e-mail from the US-based International Magician’s Society (IMS) two months ago, saying he had been nominated for one of the categories in the Merlin Award, which to magicians, is the equivalent to the Oscar for a movie star.

The IMS has 37,000 registered members worldwide, and was founded by veteran magician Tony Hassini. Former winners of the award include David Copperfield, Siegfried and Roy, Penn & Teller, David Blaine and Criss Angel.

Vikey was invited as a guest magician to the International Magic Extravaganza in Bangkok last week, where he was presented the award. He is the third Malaysian to have won the award in the last few years.

Vikey performs at least 25 shows a month locally and about 10 overseas shows in a year, with his girlfriend, who functions as his magic assistant with a team of five helpers.

His advice to aspiring magicians: “If you want to learn magic, don’t do it to impress others. Do it for the sake of mastering the art, and one should not just stop at basics”, he said.

“Always strive to achieve the best that you can be.

“As for me, I remember telling a TV interviewer a few years back that I want to, and will win, the Merlin award. Now, I’m living my dream.”

Looking back at the last decade, he said he has no regrets dabbling in magic, which was way off from his childhood ambition of becoming a policeman.

Vikey’s next goal is to master the art of quick costume changes, and he is set to fly to Germany soon to learn it from renowned costume change artistes Sos and Victoria.