He shows a magic trick and kids become filled with wonder. He then makes a funny face and kids roll on the floor laughing. Pravin Tulpule, an ex-officer of the Indian Navy, aka Pintoo – the clown magician, is giving children in several pediatric wards and orphanages a healthy dose of laughter. Read more to know what he really is – a magician or a clown?
At the pediatric ward of a large hospital, which is full of children battling cancer, a clown walks in. He makes the children laugh, but also leaves them awestruck with a few magic tricks. A happy day for them made possible by Pintoo – the clown magician!
Pintoo – the only “clown magician” around, loves to make everyone happy even if he fools them with some quick magic tricks. The deft hands can shuffle a pack of cards and perform some breathtaking tricks. But these very hands also get extended to make a vulnerable child happy. The child in Pintoo makes the children love him more!
Pintoo the clown-magician is Pravin Tulpule, an ex-naval officer. He served in the Indian Navy for 17 long years and retired as Lt. Commander Communications Specialist. Today codes, ciphers, tactics, strategy and planning are the hallmarks of his new avatar – Pintoo the clown magician.
Magic was his first passion – while clowning got added later. In 1973-74, Pravin was gifted with a set of three card tricks. He practiced and developed props at home. He also picked up magic related books from the pavement sellers. The first show was in front of his family. Then, with the help of his little cousin, Pravin staged his first paid show at home. Donning his father’s dressing gown, Pravin charged 25 paise per child to come and see his show. The show was quite a success. And magic tricks never stopped intriguing Pravin. Later at college and then during his Naval days, Pravin was always called upon to entertain, rather fool, folks with his magic.
In 1995, Pravin joined the Society of Indian Magicians in Mumbai. He got to know different kinds of people who were practicing and showcasing their talent for magic. His learning curve curved steeply during the various interactions that he had with the magicians. Card, animal and bird tricks or ventriloquism – Pravin learnt the art and sharpened his craft.
In India, more than half a dozen conventions were organised around magic and from each convention Pravin graduated further. But rather than donning the top hat and tailcoat attire, Pravin added different get-ups that helped him clown around while he showcased his magic tricks. That meant he could make his audience laugh as well as leave them in wonder.
70 percent of Pravin’s interactions are with children – his first love. He conducts his clown-magic spectacle for children who are vulnerable – whether they are living in shelters, orphanages, pediatric wards of hospitals or at events organised by NGOs. These shows are absolutely free. Though commercial assignments do keep the kitchen fire burning!
Once, while performing at a small run-down shelter for children near Panvel, Pravin met Shweta Chari of Toybank. Their thoughts and passions clicked, and today Pravin is the mascot for Toybank initiatives. Be it toy distribution events or publicising the need to donate used toys to Toybank through marathons, Pravin is at the forefront. Many a times, his daughters Shruti and Malhar (both well versed in magic) accompany Pravin to lend their support.
Pravin has also conducted numerous hygiene-related campaigns in schools, especially focusing on the importance of washing hands, that are conveyed through magic tricks. At other times, he can be seen clowning and encouraging people to donate blood – Pravin himself being a regular donor. Or he motivates people to pledge their organs, which Pravin has already done.
Pravin says his best shows are at the pediatric wards of different hospitals where there are children battling various diseases including cancer. He helps them laugh, cuts cake, distributes toys or makes hilarious shapes from balloons – simply to make the children happy. Once, a child was watching him perform from the ICU window pane. Pravin went in, met the child and made the child laugh.
Pravin believes that he is “happy fooling” – that is, making people happy while they are getting fooled with his deft magic tricks. His philosophy – life is too short to brood or be rude. Be happy.