New Delhi: Illusionist Gopinath Muthukad became the second Indian ever to win the International Merlin Award, or the magicians` `Oscar`.
He will be the second Indian after PC Sorcar junior, to win the prestigious award given by the US-based International Magicians` Society (IMS).
The awards ceremony in the national capital June 23 will be attended by hundreds of magicians from across the world who will unfold colourful traditional and new-age magic, said a statement issued here Saturday.
The award will be presented by the president of the International Magicians` Society, Tony Hassini.
With the award, Muthukad will be elevated to the ranks of celebrated names like David Copperfield, Franz Harary, Criss Angel, Harry Blackstone, Doug Henning, Channing Pollack, Siegfried & Roy, Penn & Teller, Lu Chen and Luis de Matos.
The award is usually conferred on magicians who have honed their crafts to a level where they can be bested by a few - both on the national and international stage, the statement said.
The award comprises a statuette designed by Carol Michaud in 1968.
The International Magicians Society has over 37,000 professional magicians as members.
The Kerala-based illusionist and stunt performer was selected for his contributions to the development and popularisation of magical art and science over the last 35 years.
His achievements include setting up of Asia`s first Magic Academy in Kerala in 1996; organising a series of international magic conventions titled `Vismayam` in 1996, 2000, 2006 and 2008; innovation in magical demonstrations; re-enactments of several Houdini stunts and magical sensitisation campaigns across the country to foster social values and Gandhian philosophy.
In his commendation letter, Hassini said, "No one knows more than your peers the hard work and dedication that you have given to magic. To be honoured by your peers is the greatest compliment you can receive. We honour you and your achievement in magic."
Muthukad said: "I am elated. It is an honour to the magic art and its strong traditions of our country. This will definitely add to the popularity of the art and lure more young talents to take it up and spread sublime messages for the masses."