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Crowds pack city theatres for one last feel of Pottermania

They all gazed at him,spellbound. All day,security personnel at DT Star Cinemas had been watching youngsters walk into the hall holding crystal balls and wands,but they never thought someone would turn up in the way he did.

Written by Dipankar Ghose | New Delhi |
July 16, 2011 1:59:17 am

They all gazed at him,spellbound. All day,security personnel at DT Star Cinemas had been watching youngsters walk into the hall holding crystal balls and wands,but they never thought someone would turn up in the way he did.

Standing before them was Puneet Batra,a 72-year-old retired banker dressed in dazzling purple wizard robes,crazy about Harry Potter. But Batra,who had come to catch the opening show of the final Potter movie on Friday,paid no attention to the stares he was getting from people around him.

“When I retired 10 years ago,my granddaughter forced me to read Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone,which was the first book. Since then,I have read all of them and watched every movie of his,” he said.

“This series has added so much value to my life. This is my way of giving it a fitting finale.”

With the Harry Potter franchise figuring among the biggest grossers of all time,movie halls across the city have been booked three weeks in advance.

In the midst of the carnivalesque atmosphere surrounding halls in the Capital,there are some who feel a little let down. Sara Gupta,a 21-year-old studying in Delhi University,said,“I feel a little sad that I will have no Harry to look forward to,after this movie. It makes the movie all the more special. I planned my holiday schedule around it,so I would be in the city on the day of the release. I wouldn’t miss it for the world.”

For many youths who thronged the theatres,Harry’s journey has mirrored their own coming-of-age experiences. Ashish Sharma,who spent a long time waiting in the DLF Saket ticket counter queue,said,“The movies have been an integral part of my growing-up days.

The initial movies in the series were about simple choices between black and white,fear or courage. But the last two movies have been darker,with shades of grey. For example,the character of Dumbledore. Just like the choices adulthood puts in front of you.”

High-end toy companies are also cashing in on the craze. Online sites like wandcompany.com are selling merchandise such as the Kimera wand,which performs all the function of a normal remote in ways that would do any wizard proud.

Pottermania is also being encashed by shopkeepers at Janpath,Sarojini Nagar and other hotspots across the Capital.

Ram Yadav,a vendor at a Saket road crossing,said,“I’ve been selling things like wands and hats since this morning. Business has been great.”

Meanwhile,Potter fans are planning to go to theme parties at restaurants and bars across the Capital — complete with Butterbeer and other customised drinks — to keep the magic alive.

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