Live stunt by magician 'Mandrake' in Hoogly river turns fatal

Cheryl Sanders
June 17, 2019

Spectators who had gathered to watch him take the plunge on Sunday informed the police, who say they are searching for him.

But the 40-year-old, his legs and his arms tightly bound, failed to emerge from the water, to the horror of onlookers including his family and team members.

Chanchal Lahiri, a magician who tried to perform tricks like the legendary magician of escape games Harry Houdini, was reportedly drowned in the Ganga on Sunday while trying to perform an underwater live stunt.

Back in 2013, Lahiri - who claims he has performed 2,500 shows worldwide - performed the same stunt in the same river, according to the report. Chanchal Lahiri, known by his stage name "Jadugar Mandrake" (Wizard Mandrake), was lowered by winch into the river in Kolkata on Sunday in a yellow and red costume. He was to be picked up in that position from the boat by a crane, stationed on the Howrah Bridge, that would in turn lower him into the river.


Chanchal Lahiri was meant to escape and swim to safety but did not emerge from the Hooghly river in West Bengal state.

"He had clearly mentioned the act was to happen on a boat or vessel and there was no connection with water".

"We tried to spot him".

Lahiri took a ferry from Fairly Place Ghat at around noon to perform the magic, an onlooker said.


"When he did not come out for a long time, people panicked", Syed Waquar Raza, Deputy Commissioner of the Port Division for Kolkata Police, told The Times of India. "We are investigating", police said.

"I asked him why he risked his life for magic", Shaw told the BBC.

"We have started an investigation into the matter and as to how a crane reached the Howrah Bridge", the police officer said.

The stunt required him to escape from a six-foot-tall cage which is submerged underwater and chained with six locks.


A decade ago, Lahiri had also declared that he would walk on the river but had to retreat when his act went wrong.

Other reports by iNewsToday

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