The Three Act Magic 

Smita Jain posted under Flash Fiction QuinTale-36 on 2021-12-18

“I love you.” “I love you too.” They gazed into each other’s eyes, their luminous presence dazzling in the dark. Snakes one moment, humans the next- they changed forms while embracing. Gods blessed their union with flower petals. There was thunderous applause even as the end credits flashed on the screen. No empty chair was to be found in the premiere of Nageshwar, the last movie in the Nag trilogy. Going by the response, Nageshwar was set to be a bigger blockbuster than its predecessors. The spotlight was on the bespectacled director of the trilogy. Priyajit Dutta, equally famous for writing the story and screenplay of superhit fantasies in the country, had demonstrated his Midas touch once again.  “Magic is something you make on celluloid, time and again, Priyajit Da,” an elated Shubham Ghosh, the producer of the trilogy and host for the evening, said and hugged Priyajit.  “I am waiting for you to greenlight my next movie,” Priyajit said. Shubham stepped back and smiled unsteadily.  “Dada, why veer from a hit formula? Bring me another fantasy script, and I will sanction it without asking the budget.” “So, it is a No?” Priyajit asked. “Err, no to realistic cinema, Da.” Priyajit sighed. It was his tenth rejection, by far the most in his fifteen-year career. All his movies were fantasies. He walked away from the house, ignoring Shubham’s pleas.


‘Nageshwar India’s biggest blockbuster on its opening day; Director missing,’ newspaper headlines ran the next day. No one had seen or heard from Priyajit after the premiere.  Within a week of release, the frenzy and uproar about Priyajit’s mysterious disappearance catapulted Nageshwar to unprecedented box-office heights. Public sympathy came to the fore over the film industry letting the genius down. Producer Shubam called a press conference two weeks after Priyajit’s disappearance.  “Tera Mera Basera, based on Priyajit’s script, will go on floors this week,” he announced. “It will be helmed by a new director.”


One Year Later ‘Debut director Aditya Rath creates magic on-screen with Tera Mera Basera.’ ‘Will the director of TMB please stand up? Public demands to see the genius.’  Shubham smiled at the trade reviews spread on his desk. The RoI from TMB had surpassed Nageshwar. His gambit had paid off.  He walked towards the less frequented and inaccessible south wing of his house and unlocked the furthest room. He tapped the door three times before entering. “TMB is a blockbuster. Time for Priyajit, alias Aditya, to appear in public, and the world to recognise that he makes magic time and again. Notwithstanding the movie’s genre.” Priyajit got up from the bed of a room where he had been confined for the last year. The planned disappearance was a small price to pay to gain acceptance as a universal filmmaker, even though it was a pain to direct TMB virtually.  “Here’s the script for my next movie- a comedy.” Priyajit handed over a voluminous sheaf of papers to Shubham. “The show must go on.”  


Author’s Note: Every magic trick consists of three parts or acts. The first part is where the magician shows something ordinary. The second act is where the magician makes the ordinary do something extraordinary. Here he makes truth appear an illusion and vice-versa. The third and the most challenging part is where the disappeared object makes a re-appearance. My story, written in three parts mirroring a magic trick, is an attempt to weave this literal definition of magic into something that denotes magic for me: Celluloid or Cinema. 

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