He shuffles a stack of cards as if they were clay. Once at a shopping centre, he asked a woman with a handbag to write down what was her greatest fear. Without looking at the paper, he took the woman’s handbag and opened it. Guess what was inside? It was a snake coiled up inside.
That is magician Mahdi Moudini for you. His hands move fast and “dance” as they perform amazing tricks with coins, tissues, flowers, strings and ropes.
No wonder, Mahdi’s hands, which are his asset, are insured for a hefty sum.
Some of these magic tricks and illusions will form part of the street magic for the coming 13-episode TV series titled Magical Moudini, which is a joint production by Mahdi Enter-tainment Sdn Bhd and 108 Media Holdings Sdn Bhd.
Recently, Mahdi raised the bar yet again when he received a second Merlin Award for “Most Extreme Magician 2013” from the International Magicians Society (IMS) chairman and chief executie officer Tony Hassini at Sunway Resort & Spa Hotel. The event also marked the launch of Magical Moudini.
Just last year, Mahdi, who is also known as Doctor of Magic, was voted the “Best Iranian Stage Magician 2012” at the same Merlin Awards. Other fellow magician luminaries who have been awarded similar recognitions were David Copperfield, Criss Angel, Siegfried, Roy, Pen and Teller, Tabary, Jeff McBride, Rocco and Bill Malone.
“Mahdi has the whole package of what an international magician should be. He is an extremely gifted magician and is very disciplined.
“His hands are fast, he is talented, his tricks are original and he has good showmanship.,” said Tony, who is also the founder of the 37,000-strong International Magicians Society founded in 1968 and listed in the Guinness World Records as The World’s Largest Magic Society.
Tony is also one of the brains behind “The Marvelous Magical Burger King” campaign for the fast-food chain Burger King.
Since, he has been picked to direct and design the magic tricks for Magical Moudini. Assisting Tony on the project is Ursel Ututash, an award-winning UK-based director and Paul-Marie Mendes, a former BBC editor.
For Mahdi, working with Tony is a real privilege and truly exciting as he gets to learn from the master all the diverse skills and expertise.
“Tony is very experienced so he designs magic tricks that are out of the ordinary. I also give ideas and he is very supportive of them.
“On the set, Tony is most fussy and professional. He demands nothing less than absolute concentration from the film crew.
“And because of this, the recordings will sometimes take hours. Very rarely, we wrap up right on schedule. Tony’s bag of magic tricks are interesting, fresh and, most of the time it is left to our imagination and visualisation,” said 34-year-old Mahdi, who has made Malaysia his home for the last 15 years after marrying Michelle Goh, who is also his assistant.
Mahdi comes from a generation of great magicians. His grandfather, Ibrahim Moudini and father, Ismail Moudini were all well-known magicians back home in Iran. He started learning magic tricks since he was five.
He has since trained his two children — Marchalin, four, and Prince Maddix, three, to follow in his footsteps.
Among Mahdi’s signature magic feats include the Guillotine Head, Back To Life, Floating Table, The Hand Chopper and The Escape (handcuffed or tied up) and escaped to safety. Like any other magicians, Mahdi never reveals his magic to a non-magician.
“You have to keep the secret to preserve the mystery of the profession. If you reveal the secret, the magic is ‘killed’ and there is no fun.”
According to Mahdi, its important for a magician to have his or her own individual presentation.
“To excel, a magician has to practice a lot. Some of the invaluable tricks and ideas might be simple but it can be applied in many other ways. A really good magician has to put in at least 18 hours of practice a day and exercise regularly,” said Mahdi.
Magical Moudini will be aired over local media next month and syndicated internationally.