Ah COVID – what a time to be in. Uncertainty, losing jobs, changing careers… who knows what will happen next? Take Vikneswaran Allagu aka Vikey for example. COVID-19 didn’t spare this renowned magician, Malaysian Book of Records holder, and winner of the prestigious Merlin Award (the highest international magic accolade) but it gave him a different outlook in life when the pandemic shut down the show and entertainment business. With no source of income, Vikey, 32, had to abracadabra a new source of income and that was probably the most important magic he weaved in his life!
Vikey first discovered magic in 2007, while he was in college majoring in Medical Technology Lab. He worked as a clown at a family friend’s event company, and it was during a stint when he met a magician. One thing led to another and he decided to explore the world of magic.
He then joined the Magic Association and enrolled in Magic University in Bangkok, Thailand. Who would’ve thought right? A university full of future wizards and magicians – so Harry Potter!
Becoming a World-Famous Magician
“The most rewarding part of being a magician is when I impress the audience with my magic. The moment they say ‘Wow’; there is nothing more precious than that,” says Vikey.
At 29, Vikey organised the Biggest Magic Concert in Malaysia in 2017 alongside 15 international and local magicians with more than 3,000 in the audience. It was then when Vikey performed his toughest act – Buried Alive. This magic trick required him to be buried alive six feet under, tied with 13 padlocks inside a tight hand-nailed coffin while he attempts to escape under two minutes. Watch the video here. For his act, Vikey earned a spot in the Malaysian Book of Records.
That’s not the only recognition he received – Vikey is also The Best Endurance Magician Malaysia by the Thailand Magic Association Prestige Award, The Best Mystical Magician Malaysia by Thailand Magic, and his proudest one? The Merlin Award, which is the highest award given internationally in the field of magic and illusion.
Then Came 2020
“COVID-19 has definitely changed everything in my life. When it hit, I had to stop everything – magic, my showbiz, and my event company. This led to me losing my income. My pockets were empty,” says Vikey. All of Vikey’s savings drained on living expenses during MCO.
“At first, it was nice to spend more time with my pregnant wife and beautiful daughter but as time went by, having zero income was tough with expenses and commitments. It was then I knew I had to figure something out,” says Vikey.
You’ll never believe what he did next – Vikey went from magician to durian-preneur! Vikey started his own on-the-go durian shop, Vikey’s Magic Durian Shop. He realised that there was a huge demand for durian after the rules were relaxed for MCO. So, he went searching for suppliers and found a farm owner in Pahang who agreed to collaborate with him.
Every day, Vikey will load up fresh durians on to his 4x4 truck first thing in the morning. Then, he will drive around making make deliveries. What made Vikey’s Magic Durian Shop different from the rest? “The other sellers are all stationed at one place. I deliver fresh from the farm durian to my customers. And during delivery, I’ll perform some magic tricks. I even dress up as a magician or sometimes I change between traditional outfits! I added some magic to what I was doing and voila, I managed to attract more customers whilst getting more orders,” says Vikey.
Because of his uniqueness, Vikey was approached by many media channels, local newspapers, online media, which resulted in tremendous support. His life story was even re-enacted in RHB’s Deepavali advertisement – “Light in a Time of Darkness”, which got 9.3 million views under one month.
Now, he’s getting new projects, signed up in a few commercial ads, pre-booked for future events, and yes, tons of durian orders every day. He’s also preparing for his next big magic act – Frozen in Time – where he plans to stay inside an ice block for three days!
Ironically, thanks to COVID-19, Vikey found a new passion that gave him something to look forward to and more importantly, to support his family. The most important lesson he learnt? “Be positive, love your passion, trust your talent, be confident and never give up.”
Follow Vikey on Instagram @vikeymagic