Meet the man who tricked Amitabh Bachchan
A murder mystery and mentalism come together on stage with a popular Israeli mind illusionist who tricked Amitabh Bachchan, too
"Write a three-digit number on this. I don't mind if you write your ATM pin," jokes Israeli mind illusionist aka mentalist Roy Zaltsman, as he hands us a chit. Once it’s folded and out of sight, he enquires about our sun sign and favourite colour. It only takes him a minute to guess the correct number (214), from one out of a million possibilities, leaving us flummoxed.
Then, the 44-year-old takes our spectacles and places them on the floor at our workplace in Bandra, where he has dropped in for a chat. We kneel and place our hands on his, resting mid-air. Within 10 seconds, our spectacles flip without him even touching them!
Coincidentally, this was also the trick Zaltsman pulled off on Amitabh Bachchan at an award ceremony in Bengaluru, four years ago. "He was such a sport. I want to meet him again and ask him to teach me some Hindi," laughs the globetrotter, who has performed in parts of USA, Italy, Spain, Denmark, Greece, Austria and Singapore in the last two decades.
Solve the mystery
Though Zaltsman has performed in India several times before, next weekend, he collaborates with Raell Padamsee’s Numero Uno Productions for the first time to introduce Mumbai to a new stage production with a theme — mystery.
“In other shows, I just go on stage and perform tricks. This one includes drama and suspense. It begins with a murder scene and my acts are woven into the story. I will also perform hypnosis, which I have never done before, as it’s illegal in Israel. Here, you’ll see some sane people behave crazily on stage,” he winks.
Take to mentalism
Zaltsman staged his first show in his hometown, Eilat in southern Israel, at the age of 15. “At that time, I did a few card tricks and illusions. After three years of compulsory airforce service, I was keen to take up mentalism as a full-time profession,” says the self-taught performer, who uses a number of skills — body language observation, Neuro-Linguistic Programming, memory enhancement, persuasion techniques and speed reading — to spellbind the audience.
"When I started out, the idea of showcasing this talent was not acceptable in Israel. Over the years, it has definitely grown,” he observes. Case in point: While he visited India for the first time in 1995 as a backpacker, over the last few years, he has been making trips at least once a month to offer training programmes at universities or for corporate shows.
From rope tricks to bending metal objects, Zaltsman uses wit and audience interaction to keep things interesting. “I rely on my intuition to pick the right guest for each act. India is spiritual and thus, accepting with regard to hypnosis and teleki-nesis. People in Mumbai are so enthusiastic,” he shares.
He is also known for performing some dangerous stunts like walking barefoot on shards of glass. And what if an act goes wrong? “The key to a great performance is the ability to cover up and work around it. It requires thinking on your feet.”
ON: December 11, 7.30 pm
AT: St Andrew’s Auditorium,
St Dominic Road,
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