The bespectacled witty kid with a magic wand is the ideal hero for today’s children, writes Sumit Bhattacharjee
Gone are the days when Superman and Batman were the idols of the kids. The muscled men who thrashed the baddies with sheer strength and extraordinary power seem to pave way for a bespectacled witty kid with a magic wand. Today in one go the kids fall behind their little hero- Harry Potter. And to give a fillip to their idol worship, there are two events happening this month. First, the fifth film in the Potter series, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix was released on Friday, and second, the worldwide release of J.K. Rowling’s last book of the Potter series- the seventh one- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, takes place today.
Most of the booksellers have lined up a series of programmes to bring the kids to their stores. Pages, a book store, has ordered for over 4,000 copies and they predict to sell over 700 copies on the first day itself. “We have created a separate arena to cater to the Potter mania and there are a lot of gifts and discounts in store. The idea is to see that every kid walks out with a book. We have even tuned the launch with the global timing of the worldwide launch which is midnight in London,” says Anil of Pages.
The film was released to a packed house in Jagadamba on Friday. Rohit, a Std.V student plans to go with five of his friends on Sunday. “I just can’t wait to see my hero on the 70 mm screen with dolby sound effects. Each one of us plan to carry a wand as a symbolic gesture,” says he.
Most of the kids identify himself or herself with the little magician and characters of the film who dare to take on the evil Lord Voldemort, the baddie in the film. “We have grown up seeing Potter films and I have seen all the previous four of the series. In this film, Harry has grown up and so has the beautiful Emma Watson, the female lead and Harry’s girlfriend. Most of us associate ourselves with film and the novel and tend to get into the skin of the characters as the film progresses,” says Sridhar who is now in Std. X.
The worldwide release of the film on July 12 by Warner Brothers grossed up a staggering 12 million USD on the first day itself in the US, outbeating Spider Man- 2.
The first two of the series Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets were directed by Chris Columbus, the third was directed by Alfonso Cuaron, the fourth by Mike Newell and the current film was directed by David Yates who is all set to direct the sixth of the series- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince which is scheduled to be released in November 2008.
The plot revolves around the presumed return of Lord Voldemort in a newer and stronger body. The kid gang enters the fifth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and both Harry and Dumbledore, the head of Hogwarts, are shunned by the community at the school for their claim that Voldemort has returned, especially by Dolores Umbridge, a teacher. To tackle Voldemort’s evil forces and corrupt designs, an underground army ‘Dumbledore’s Army’ is founded with Harry as its head and from then on the film rolls on to the darkest side of wizardry.
The film has received rave reviews in the west. Reputed dailies like The Telegraph and New York Daily News have said that it is the best of the Potter films. The characters of Dolores Umbridge played by Imelda Staunton and Bellatrix Lestrange portrayed by Helena Bonham Carter received wide spread critical acclamation apart from the lead characters of Daniel Radcliffe (Harry), Emma Watson (Hermione Granger) and Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint).
The film is open for four shows and the management of Jagadamba is issuing tickets in advance for each show to tackle the rush. The potter mania is on…