Indian police have recovered the body of a magician who tried to recreate Harry Houdini's world-famous trick.

Rescue workers found Chanchal Lahiri's body washed up 1km from the site of the incident on Monday evening.

The magician, who was known by his stage name "Jadugar Mandrake" (Wizard Mandrake), drowned after an underwater Houdini-inspired magic trick where he shackled himself with chains and ropes.

He was then lowered by a winch into the river in Kolkata, India.

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The crowd started to panic after the 40-year-old did not appear after more than 10 minutes, according to the Press Trust of India.

Jayanta Shaw, a photographer with a local newspaper, witnessed and spoke to Lahiri before he started his act.

"I asked him why he risked his life for magic," Shaw said. "He [Mr Lahiri] smiled and said, 'If I do it right, it's magic. If I make a mistake, it becomes tragic'."

Lahiri successfully pulled off the same risky underwater trick more than 20 years ago.

Almost a decade earlier, he declared he would walk on the river waters but had to beat a hasty retreat when the act went wrong.