A local newspaper photographer told the BBC that he spoke with Lahiri before the stunt.
“I asked him why he risked his life for magic,” Jayanta Shaw said. “He [Lahiri] smiled and said, ‘If I do it right, it's magic. If I make a mistake, it becomes tragic.’”
Lahiri also said he wanted to do the trick to “revive interest in magic.”
Lahiri did a similar trick 20 years ago when he was lowered into the same river in a glass box, the Press Trust of India reported. He successfully escaped that time.
Shaw said he witnessed that stunt, too, according to the BBC.
"I never thought he would not come out of the water this time," he said.
Houdini performed a number of death-defying stunts, including escaping from ropes, chains, straitjackets and handcuffs while submerged in packing crates, wooden boxes and other vessels.