Illusionist Kunal Newar recently joined NewsX for a candid conversation as part of NewsX Influencer A-List. In the exclusive conversation, Kunal opened up about his decision to leave a corporate job to become an illusionist, his struggle of convincing his parents, his journey till now and much more. Read excerpts:
Speaking about his journey of performing magic, Kunal said, “I have been doing magic professionally since I came to Pune in 2012. I was initially focusing on my studies and I did my engineering. I am a B-Tech engineer in mechanical. After that, I got a placement in Pune so I came to Pune. When I was in my training period in the office, I had that memory of magic. In Pune, there was a local magic shop. I went to that shop and started learning from there. I started showing those tricks to my friends so they were really encouraging. After that, I started performing for my friends, local charitable organisations from the office. From that time, I actually started earning from performing magic. I moved to MP after that. I got a government job in a refinery. What happened was, at the time I was still working so I was doing magic as a hobby and doing a job. When I moved to MP, since refineries are in located in the outskirts, I got detached from magic. Since the work pressure was so much, I couldn’t perform and got depressed. I told my mom that it is not working out because I am getting depressed and I am not able to focus on my work. Everything that was on going on in my mind, was magic. I was not learning anything. That’s when I said that I am not going to do this job. When she asked me why, it is a very good job, it is a dream job, people work really hard for this job, I started convincing them that I cannot do it.”
When asked it was not just about convincing them but yourself to take that leap, he responded, “There was a huge risk involved because it was a dream job for everyone. It took time convincing them because parents are worried for their children. They see that their child is working in such a good organisation and suddenly wants to leave everything for performing tricks. I started convincing them and showed them profiles of people who are already successful in this art form. Even in India, we have some brilliant performers. I told them that they are working hard, doing good, earning from performing magic, entertaining people. It is just like any other work field. One day, I was really frustrated because they were still not convinced so I ran away from the company and came home.
“I told them that I don’t want to go back. They tried to convince me to go back and do it the proper way. I started performing in Guwahati for a few months. I got a stage show and invited my parents to come and see what I do. They came and saw the show. It was a terrible show because I was just starting out but for me, I was on the stage. It is different because you are performing for hundreds of people. For me, I was like a superstar so I performed with that attitude. For them and the people, it was really good. For me, it wasn’t that good. If I still see the video, it is really cringy. When I went home, my mom said, “Okay, you take it as a career. You have our support but go to your office and submit your proper resignation.” I did that and started performing. I performed for one year. All my friends were in Pune. We had come together and joined the company. They kept calling me and said that Mumbai is also nearby and it has a good reach. I came to Pune and I started performing full-time shows. I started with birthday shows and then I moved to weddings, corporates and television shows,” he added.
Watch the entire interview on NewsX YouTube:
The Daily Guardian is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@thedailyguardian) and stay updated with the latest headlines.
For the latest news Download The Daily Guardian App.
Sevagram for the 21st century to spread Gandhian philosophies
A place to learn from, re-live, and remember Mahatma Gandhi.
Sevagram for the 21st century in Raipur is a project envisioned by the Chhattisgarh government that intends to be a place to remember and learn from the Gandhian Philosophies, to keep the freedom movement, and the nation’s history alive in the heart of young Indians.
The inspiration behind this project is the Sevagram in Wardha, Maharashtra, founded in 1936 as a residence for Gandhiji and his wife in Central India to lead the freedom movement. It was built with a vision to serve the nation through Rural Reconstruction. Gandhiji believed that village improvement is the only foundation on which can permanently ameliorate conditions in India.
The proposed Sevagram will have a Visitors Centre to spread Gandhian Ideologies, Arts and Craft village, Vridh Ashram and a school for the underprivileged. It intends to empower the locals by the economy generated by tourism, celebrating the artisans of Chhattisgarh, providing a second home for the elderly, and building a world-class system for knowledge for the best minds in the state with a motive to fight poverty. The Visitors Centre will be a place to learn, a place to re-live, a place to remember Gandhi, and commemorate him.
The Arts village will mirror the simplicity and traditions of the state and its people. Chhattisgarh is known for its distinct arts and craft. Bastar, Raigarh, and other districts of Chhattisgarh have various art forms using bell metal, wrought iron, terracotta, stone, fabric, and bamboo. The tribal families in the Bastar and Sukma districts celebrate many festivals and fairs, which require ample common space for the villagers to set up such fairs and interact. Sevagram will be a place where visitors will experience local arts and crafts, local cuisine through the community kitchen and host cultural events in an open-air theatre.
Vridh Ashram for old age is unique to Sevagram. It intends to become a second home for those elderly separated from their family and need care.
This ashram creates a holistic ecosystem that can offer its residents a quality of living and engagement with the other site activities. The idea of sustainable living having symbiosis between the elderly and site activities can make a very homelike experience. After all, Mahatma Gandhi believed that “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others”.
A schooling system inspired by the ancient Indian Gurukuls, well equipped to empower young Indians to take over the 21st century. The intent is to end poverty by providing education. As the saying goes – “The education of just one underprivileged child changes the future of many generations of the family as they are destined to move out of poverty”.
The government aims to make the project environmentally and financially self-sustainable by creating biodiversity parks and revenue streams by promoting arts and crafts and tourism. It will identify land in Nava Raipur in and the work plan will be presented before 2 October by NRDA. Building on the principles of sustainability, all the raw materials will be locally sourced.
PM MODI: A SIMPLE MAN WITH A VISION FOR INDIA
Prime Minister is a man kindled with a deeply rooted sense of purpose to work for the betterment of India and the betterment of the world but most of all, to work for humanity.
I have witnessed the power of the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi twice amongst the crowd but never had the opportunity to sit with him face-to-face and converse. The blessed opportunity presented itself on 6 August 2021, when I was invited along with my co-author Amit Bagaria to meet with the Prime Minister of India.
We were elated to interact with one of the finest and much-talked-about global leaders emerging out of our nation.
Prime Minister Modi is not a politician that has risen to such a pinnacle of political success on muscle power or money power. He has matured and grown with the power of his intellect and hard work.
Let me be honest. He did not have the aura of a powerful man who is intimidating. I certainly was not intimidated by his presence. In fact, I felt that I was conversing with an elder brother.
Often I have witnessed that conversations with people in positions of power end up being a monologue. Our conversation was a dialogue and not a monologue. You can only have a dialogue if you respect the view of the other person.
Prime Minister Modi is undoubtedly a man of power, but, his power is in the mind, and his power is in the people. He does not need to intimidate, he merely needs to inspire and people get inspired.
In the 25-minutes discussion with Prime Minister Modi, I could see in him a man kindled with a deeply rooted sense of purpose to work for the betterment of India and the betterment of the world but most of all to work for humanity. He has such a humane approach to all issues.
I did not find a hint of arrogance in him. He was simple and courteous. I did not feel that I was sitting in the presence of the Prime Minister of the largest democracy in the world. In his presence, I felt like I was having a cup of ‘Chai’ in the courtyard of my home with a man of knowledge and compassion for people.
He showed immense concern for my safety and security, when I asked him for a piece of advice, on whether I should go to China to further investigate the Covid-19 origins. He also in simple words spelt out my way forward in the investigations. His concern was genuine, his concern was familial.
You read so much of PM Modi the politician that we often forget Prime Minister Modi the human and we build up an image of a power-centric political leader. I did not see Prime Minister Modi the politician in our meeting. I saw Prime Minister Modi the human. I saw Prime Minister Modi the friend. In fact, the camaraderie during the meeting was that of three friends meeting after a long time, eager to take pictures and talk, yet respecting each other. Prime Minister Modi made us feel like we were in our own homes.
As a journalist and an analyst, I take great pride in reading people, their faces, their body language, and their behaviour during interactions. And I often tend to look at the eyes of a person. Prime Minister Modi has eyes of compassion.
He is not in a position of power with a self-driven purpose. He is in a position of power because he believes that his purpose is to take India to great heights and he can do that in this position of power. I could see that this man at the opportune time, after completing his job, will pass on the mantle to the next leader to take India forward. He does not covet the position of the Prime Minister out of self-importance but out of a sense of his own self-driven mission of contributing to the growth of India. He is a man on a mission and after completing his mission he will move on.
After my face-to-face interaction with Prime Minister Modi, I am amused by the past and present adjectives of evil attributed to him. Prime Minister Modi is not a fascist. He is far from it. He is a humanist.
Prime Minister Modi is a simple man of Dharma. He is following his Dharma. He is living out his Karma. He did not move into the position of power out of family legacy or political aristocracy. He has worked hard for it and he strived unflinchingly to be a change manager for India. That’s why people connect with him.
Political growth in India is often related to political legacy. Prime Minister Modi is not a leader born out of political aristocracy or of political nepotism. He is a leader that has come from the common people of India and now is the hope of the common people of India.
The people of India admire Prime Minister Modi because they see him as one of them, a leader of the common man born out of the common man’s strife in life. The people of India trust that under Narendra Modi’s leadership India will rise to take centre stage in the world.
Post my face-to-face conversation with PM Modi, I am convinced that Narendra Modi is more than just a politician occupying the chair of the Prime Minister of India. He is a visionary. He has a vision for India and its people. He is working on that mission and vision. Of course, along the way, he will make some mistakes. But they would be because of bad decisions based on bad advisors. I do not for a moment believe that PM Modi will err out of intent to cause harm to India or Indians. He loves India and our people too much. More so, I do not personally believe, a leader, politics, or otherwise can please 100% people. There will always be a few grudging elements. I see Narendra Modi as an elder brother in charge of my home—India. I trust PM Modi because his intent for India is pure. I will disagree with some of his decisions but I will stand by him as a brother and a friend because he puts India first and that is the only truth that matters to me. Narendra Modi in simple words is a good man. He is focused on India. I know I have found an elder brother and a friend in him.
The author is founder & editor-in-chief at GoaChronicle.com.
Political growth in India is often related to political legacy. PM Modi is not a leader born out of political aristocracy or of political nepotism. He is a leader who has come from the common people of India and now is the hope of the common people of India.
WE ARE STRONGER TOGETHER IN DIVERSITY: MUSIC COMPOSER RICKY KEJ
In an exclusive interview with NewsX India A-List, music composer Ricky Kej spoke about his latest album ‘Divine Tides’, the idea behind it, his collaborations, the theme of his song and much more.
Ricky Kej, an internationally-recognised music composer, best known for his Grammy award-winning music performances, is back with a new album, which is an ode to earth.
Talking about his lockdown schedule, he said, “Yes, I have spent most of my lockdown in the studio recording new music because, in 2019, I did over seventy concerts in 13 countries. So, it’s been huge for me to actually sit down in the same place for almost 16 months, but I have used that time very productively, doing a couple of online concerts and recording this new album.”
When asked for his comments on his collaboration with Stewart Copeland, Ricky shared, “Stewart has been an idol of mine. Everybody knows him as being the drummer and the band founder of the band ‘The Police’, he sold 75 million copies all over the world, won 5 Grammys but very few people know that he has actually composed music for Oscar-winning Hollywood movies like ‘Wall Street’ which is one of my all-time favourite movies. Also, he writes for orchestras, being a drummer, writing for orchestras and operas that are pretty amazing. In 2016, I had a brief collaboration with him where I collaborated with him on one song but we did not get to interact much, I just sent him the music, he recorded on it and he sent it back to me. During the lockdown, while I was creating this particular album, I musted up the courage to actually ask him to collaborate on the whole album and I sent him the music, he loved it and then he decided to go ahead and collaborate. So, it wasn’t difficult collaborating or being on two different continents because I have been doing that a lot but, in this case, it is a little more difficult because he of time zones, so I had to change my sleep timings completely just to sync with him to interact more.”
When asked about the significance and idea behind ‘Divine Tides’ along with his experience, he expressed, “You may know the only kind of music I make right now is about the environment and sustainability and this is an extension of that. This album is basically a tribute to the magnificence of the natural world, the current situation, the resilience of the human species and to show how strong we are together in diversity. This is the basic underline theme of this album.” He added, “Album released on 21 July. The window into the release of the whole album was released on 7 July. So, we are really excited about this release. We have eight music videos, shot all around the world.”
Speaking about the challenges he faced along the way, he shared, “I started this album as a follow-up to my Grammy-winning album in 2015, i.e., ‘Winds of Samsara’. I have been for 5-6 years collecting a lot of thoughts and ideas but never recorded them because of intense travelling and touring schedules and concerts. Pandemic itself was an opportunity to sit down and concentrate on this album, work with Stewart Copeland for 7-8 months to record and finalise it with the music videos.” Adding more on the way of launch he announced “We are not going to have a physical launch to keep things safe but a virtual launch is as powerful as it has the advantage that world is your playground and you can get many people to come. However, the disadvantage is not able to talk face to face.”
On a concluding note, Ricky shared his future plans and said, “There will definitely be another collaboration because we’ve gotten to know each other so well and developed a beautiful younger brother relationship. When I listen to this album, I’m just so in love with it simply because my idol is on it and Stewart Copland is one of the greatest drummers. However, for this album, it presented a new opportunity for him because it’s Indian fusion music and he loves playing around with these percussion instruments. So, I am going to spend all my time for a couple of months only promoting this album as we have worked so hard on this and it deserves to be heard as much as possible.”
“The album cover showcases human nature and we are just one species. It shows a face, which is gender-neutral formed by parts of various animal species. Divine has got a very wide meaning but tides are about the cyclical nature of humans and about the only constant of our planet is changed,” he further added.
10-YEAR-OLD DELHI GIRL MAKING WAVES ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Delhi Ki Kudi Navya Baijal can make you dance, bring a smile to your face and take you by surprise with her talent. She is a true Delhi girl at heart!
Although there are so many kids who have the ability to showcase their talent on various platforms, Navya has shown her outstanding and creative talent that has taken Instagram by storm. She is perky, vivacious, and a true fashionista even at her modest age.
At a time when social media is buzzing with fresh talent and kids trying to grab attention with their regular gigs on the platforms, some names leave a mark with their creativity and well-preserved innocence.
Navya, a stunner from the national capital, is all of 10 but is already a popular name and face on social media. Some of her reels and posts have garnered more than thousands of views.
Navya offers a sneak peek into her life through Instagram posts. A multi-talented child, she ready has the aura and style of making it big in the world of glamour. Navya is an actor, model, dancer, and a social media celeb today!
As far as stats are concerned, the social media sensation has over 100k followers, Navya’s increasing popularity and stardom are evident with the number of likes, shares, and comments she is receiving from all corners for her sense of style and acting prowess at such a young age.
The trend of social media celebrities and influencers has just picked up pace in India. Talented children like Navya are here to make a mark for themselves and have a bright chance of grabbing their first big break in the times to come. Good luck to our Delh’s little fashion queen.
RELIVE THE REGAL ERA WITH ROYAL FABLES ‘THE COMEBACK SHOW’
Royal Fables is one of India’s most authentic platforms promoting the craft, culture, and cuisine of Princely states.
Get ready and roll up your sleeves for the most royal event in town, that is, The Comeback Show by Royal Fables at Bikaner House, New Delhi on 15 and 16 September. One of India’s most authentic platforms promoting the craft, culture and cuisine of Princely states, Royal Fables has joined hands with Sujhal, Jewel Of The Royals, The Titus Museum, Maserati, Petal Maserati, Campo Viejo and Pracheen to put up a show worth a royal gaze.
Anshu Khanna, Founder, Royal Fables, said, “Royal Fables The Comeback Show is my little prayer for the life of refinement coming back to us in full gusto. Our collective hope is that the rich treasure trunk of hand-crafted fables gets unlocked once again. Hopefully, reinstating the luxurious craft of artists and artisans who work within palace karakhanas and legendary studios of India. With hope in my heart, I welcome you to relive the regal era with us.”
Extending her best wishes to the team of Royal Fables, H.H Maharani Radhika Raje Gaekwad of Baroda- Maharani Chimnabai Stree Udyogalaya, expressed, “The last two years have been trying, especially for the craftsmen, the weavers, the artists, and the artisans. I am glad that hope is returning and platforms like Royal Fables are trying to bring the arclight back on our handcrafted legacy.”
The keynote sessions at the event began on 15 September including the inauguration ceremony at 12:30 pm in the presence of Raja Bimlendra Mohan Mishra of Ayodhya, Princess Vaishnavi Kumari of Kishangarh, and Maneka Gandhi in attendance. This was followed by sessions named The royal beauty ritual at 2 pm, Kitchen Tales: Keeping a culinary heritage alive at 3 pm and Craft the clusters as tools of women empowerment at 4 pm.
On 16 September, the note-worthy events would include The fine line: The culture of expression, The curated walkthrough, The culture of patronage, concluding with NewsX’s presentation The legacy keepers: The young custodian that will witness Cynthia Meera Frederick, Historian, and Uday Pratap Singh, anchor, NewsX, in conversation with Jema Akshita Bhanjdeo of Mayurbhanj, Princess Mriganda Kumari of Pratapgarh, R.K Chandni Kumari Seohara, and Kunwar Yaduveer Singh, Bera.
The top ten things to watch out for in this comeback edition planned, executed and celebrated under the Damocles sword of a pandemic include:
1. The sheer beauty of Princess Vaishnavi Kumari of Kishangarh’s textile inspired miniature art. It is a veritable must-have for any art lover.
2. The rich, embellished collection of jewels for the royals from Sujhal, Gujarat’s best-kept secret.
3. The sheer beauty of heirloom pieces crafted by the young customer Pankaj S who creates sheer magic with handmade tilla, vintage weaves, old Tanjore art on textiles, jewelled necklines and the finest resham do taar collections for men.
4. It is time for textile lovers to be spoilt silly for choice. Royal Fables have a treasure trove to take home: the vibrance of textile exponent Bela Sanghavi, patolas, ikat, and Paithani in silk rubs shoulders with the inimitable gold weave of Mansa, immortalised by Thakurani Darshana Kumari of Mandawa, Kanwarani Ritu Sinhji Wankaner who revives classic designs and gives them a contemporary twist. Adding to that is the first-ever presence of Weaver’s Studio, the master weavers platform that step onto the forum for the first time with their vibrant Varanasi looms by Reshma Punj. Rich, regal and perfect for the festive feel.
5. If we speak of royalty, can chiffons be left behind? Get festive ready with exquisitely embroidered chiffons by Kanwarani Dipti Singh of Kacchi Baroda and Kanwarani Geetanjali Shekhawat Jassowala. Or opt for the digital prints by Rani Jaykirti Singh Baria. Couple them with her velvet jackets and capes. And lo and behold, you are an epitome of regalia.
6. A dedicated space for varied charities: Urja lead by H.H. Maharani Radhika Raje Gaekwad of Baroda opens its first forum outside of Baroda, Giri Foundation that celebrates crafts of the hills brings clusters reviving the delicate Chamba rumal, Maneka Gandhi’s PFA returns with its hand-blown glass and you have women from Afghanistan creating sustainable home décor elements with retouched saris and textiles.
7. Every aspect of royal heritage is captured through talks on royal cuisine, patronage, art, philanthropy, beauty rituals etc. Each talk steered by an industry expert. The library at Bikaner House will resonate with strong voices that relive the raj. Including the chat by Uday Pratap Singh in conversation with young royals and their tryst with destiny.
8. Heritage must be showcased to perfection and Royal Fables have the top ateliers participating in a costume parade that comes alive in the Chand Bagh of Bikaner house. Under the crystal sky and the shining stars will be presented 30 handcrafted pieces, modelled by young royals who walk to the tune of Umraa Langa singing with Kamaakshi Khanna.
9. The culinary platform Kitchen of the Kings once again collaborates with the cloud kitchen Pracheen, India before 1947 with the cuisine from the royal kitchens of Rampur. Scrumptious curries and kebabs cooked in flavoured ghee from Pratap Garh celebrate the erstwhile era.
10. Last but not the least, they promise to follow all Covid protocols, ensuring the heritage experience is also safe and sound for each of their patrons of heritage.
Royal Fables The Comeback Show is my little prayer for the life of refinement coming back to us in full gusto. Our collective hope is that the rich treasure trunk of hand-crafted fables gets unlocked once again. Hopefully, reinstating the luxurious craft of artists and artisans who work within palace karakhanas and legendary studios of India.
‘Wanted a lot of love from my audience’: Actor Raj Arjun on playing ‘Sai Baba’ on-screen
Actor Raj Arjun recently joined NewsX for a candid chat as part of its special series NewsX India A-List to speak about his latest project ‘Sai Baba’. In the exclusive conversation, the actor shared about his experience of playing Sai Baba on screen, learning about the spiritual figure in greater detail and depth. Read excerpts:
Speaking about his role and what convinced him to play “Sai Baba”, the actor said, “Well, i have earned enough hated and abuses in my previous roles. I was just craving to earn a love and respect. I just wanted a lot of love from my audience and from my co-actors. I was continuously in search of something, which can fulfil my requirement as an actor, which can satisfy me as an actor. That search made me go through this journey”
When asked if it is true that he was offered this role in the past and he said no multiple times, he responded, “Yes, you would be surprised to know that. I was offered Sai Baba’s role twice before this. This is the third time it is happening and i actually felt that i am not ready to do Sai Baba because i am not literate enough about Sai Baba. Everybody goes through a limited knowledge when he is not into that subject too much until and unless, i was not given that opportunity. I see Sai Baba as one, so that respect is there but i was not too much into it. I was doing pretty well enough to my other roles and that particular category. I wanted to establish myself in that first and then a little later, i wanted to explore this side, but suddenly i got an offer from somewhere. They signed up before and then for the second time. At that particular time i said ‘No, i am not ready’ because i know it is a challenging role and it eats a lot of things from your heart , from your soul, motion-wise and you have to be at that present moment at that time. I thought i am not prepared but somehow, it was this time to happen, because i said no and then it again came to me. I again said no and then it again came to me. Then finally, the third time it came to me, i thought there is some universal calling because it doesn’t happen usually that one actor, in the duration of two months, has been offered the same role thrice. I thought that it is something happening, i should understand that and i should just receive it. I am really honoured, privileged and feel that i have made such a good decision of my life”.
Learning about Sai Baba’s life through the research for the show, through the preparation, Raj further shared what has made the spiritual guru gain this kind of prominence in our country that people have so much of devotion in him. He expressed, “See, when we look at Sai and what we have tried to label that we have tried to show his human side. We have not tried to show that it is god who is teaching you lessons or it is someone who is so big and he is trying to feed you something. There is no spoon-feeding kind of a thing. If you go back in the history and read something about Sai, what i realised and how i took it, is that he was an enlightened man who was born at that particular time but he was born with futuristic thought. He was much ahead of his time at that particular moment. Gradually when he started growing up, he got happened to meet with such personalities, who had a lot of influence on his life.”
Opinion11 months ago
South Block’s mistakes will now be corrected by Army
Sports1 year ago
When a bodybuilder breaks Shoaib’s record
News1 year ago
PM Modi must take governance back from babus
Spiritually Speaking1 year ago
Spiritual beings having a human experience
News1 year ago
Chinese general ordered attack on Indian troops: US intel report
Sports1 year ago
West Indies avoid follow-on, England increase lead to 219
Legally Speaking1 year ago
Law relating to grant, rejection and cancellation of bail
Royally Speaking12 months ago
The young royal dedicated to the heritage of Jaipur