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I can make the Burj disappear: Emirati magician

Award-winning Emirati illusionist harbours Burj-sized ambitions; wants to make world’s tallest tower disappear this December

  • By Anjana Sankar, 
Senior Reporter
  • Published: 21:00 July 3, 2013
  • XPRESS

  • Image Credit: XPRESS/Ahmed Kutty
  • Two good: Emirati magician Dr Montaser Al Mansouri with the two Merlin awards he won
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ABU DHABI: Dr Montaser Al Mansouri could easily pass off as another Emirati as he orders Turkish coffee at a restaurant in Al Bahia here.

But Al Mansouri is special -- very special.

Watch him unceremoniously pull a wallet out of his pocket to pay the bill. In a split second, the purse turns into a ball of flame in his hands.

Al Mansouri apologises to the petrified waitress, opens the wallet again and hands her a Dh100 note with a smile.

This double-Oscar winning magician, however, has more than just a few spell-binding tricks up his sleeves.

“I can make the Burj Khalifa disappear for three seconds. If I get a sponsor, I want to perform this magical feat in December,” Al Mansouri, 42, told XPRESS.

He is the first Arab national to win two Merlin awards (in 2012 and 2013), the highest honour bestowed on magicians by the International Magicians Society based in the US.

He won the prestigious awards for performing more than 70,000 magic shows over a span of 26 years.

“I am glad that I am in the league of world-renowned magicians like David Copperfield and Criss Angel,” said Al Mansouri.

But what makes him stand out from his compatriots is his identity, which the Ras Al Khaimah-born Emirati happily displays in his kandoura even during stage performances.

“I broke the tradition of magicians by not wearing a black coat. I want to be known all over the world as an Emirati magician. That is what makes me proud,” said Al Mansouri.

Not an easy choice

But being an Emirati and a magician at the same time was not easy when he decided to pursue a career in magic.

“I took fancy to this art after watching an Indian magician perform small tricks in Ras Al Khaimah when I was just 14. I became his disciple and learned magic for three years under his tutelage.”

But his father was totally against it. “Magic was considered a taboo. It was ‘haram’ for an Arab Muslim to practice it,” recounted Al Mansouri, who is married.

But the young boy was not one to easily abandon his passion.

Al Mansouri went on to study a four-year advanced course in magic at the International Brotherhood of Magicians in the US.

Since his return in 1994, he has been performing magic shows in and outside the UAE along with his seven-member all-Emirati team.

Currently, Al Mansouri performs daily shows at the Emirates Park Zoo. He plans to also have daily shows at the Al Raha Mall throughout Ramadan.

Dispelling myths

Al Mansouri says many people still harbour misconceptions about the art of magic.

“Through my shows, I try to break that mindset and try to bring magic closer to their hearts. The best way is to teach them small tricks behind the magic which I always do in my shows,” says Al Mansouri.

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Comments (17)

Your comment
  1. Added 13:22 July 4, 2013

    Magic is, undoubtedly, one of the most fascinating art forms known to man but is the misunderstood as well. The amazing skill and mechanics used to produce unbelievable effects like floating a lady in mid air or sudden appearance of a magic wand shall always thrill and amaze onlookers. Magic has developed so much these days thanks to the scientific methods and electronics involved in magic today enabling performers to present fabulous illusions to entertain spectators wherever they go. I am a magician based in UAE and certainly feel proud Dr. Montaser is contributing immensely to bring respect to this amazing art and devote his time and efforts to bring awareness that magic is not all evil.

    Ray Santosh, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

  2. Added 10:56 July 4, 2013

    How come there is no information on google about this magician or his awards ?

    samantha, sharjah, United Arab Emirates

  3. Added 10:56 July 4, 2013

    Me and my family got a chance to watch Dr. Montaser magic show at Al-Bahia Zoo in Abu Dhabi. It was a very nice performance n my kids always talk about his performance. Dr. Montaser ..Wish you all the best!!!

    Saifulla, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

  4. Added 09:33 July 4, 2013

    Artistic entertainment...

    Ryan DC, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  5. Added 09:30 July 4, 2013

    Of course Magic in an art. There is also science too in it -but definitely no hocus pocus.

    Gopakumar, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

  6. Added 08:58 July 4, 2013

    it is not magic. it is simply an illuision made with the help of assistantce and stage tricks. Any way it is good entertainment.

    UMAR, KARACHI, Pakistan

  7. Added 08:43 July 4, 2013

    MAGIC IS A SUPER OF TELEPATHY WHICH IS ALL A GAME OF BRAIN. BRAIN BEING PREPARED THAT ONE IS IN THE MIDDLE OF SEA WHILE HE IS SITTING IN A CINEMA WATCHING MOVIE. SOMETHING VERY NEAR TO DREAMS, WE DREAM PLACES AND FACES WHOM WE NEVER SAW. ITS SOMETHING LIKE OUR COMPUTER, LOTS OF DATA WILL CREATE SOME ADDITIONAL FILES WORKING IN THE BACKSIDE WHICH ARE INVISIBLE BUT APPEARS IN FRONT AS A FORM OF VIRUS. MAGIC IS AN ILLUSSIVE ART OF HIDING AND SHOWING THINGS IN DIFFERENT WAY.

    NADEEM AHMED HAJI, AL AIN, United Arab Emirates

  8. Added 08:41 July 4, 2013

    Ya, I do agree, Magic is an Art and is part of science, but few people use magic for wrong purpose.

    Jos Cardozo, Dubai, India

  9. Added 08:35 July 4, 2013

    Dr Montaser is a true Genius as I saw him do a live performance in my Cafe called Second Cup based in Abu Dhabi Al Wahda Mall. Regards Shabeer

    Shabeer, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

  10. Added 08:27 July 4, 2013

    if magician make burj disappear.. he is a real extraordinary magician in the world..

    jasim, sharjah, United Arab Emirates

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