IT goes without saying that this week was swept up in the Harry Potter mania, so much so that everything else almost paled in comparison. And I don’t mean this in terms of scale-of-grandness or celebrity attendees but the sheer excitement that accompanied the launch of Harry Potter And The Cursed Child, the latest book in the series. While celebrations were on across the city at various venues, I found myself at what felt like ground zero, Phoenix MarketCity, where fans had gathered by the hundreds, to be first in line for their copies. Right from the entry that had been transformed into the famed platform, complete with the Hogwarts Express, to the floating candles and broomsticks that hung from the ceiling, to people of all ages dressed up as every type of character from the book, it was something you had to see to believe. In the wait leading up to the launch, prizes were given out for everything from best spell casting to best dressed, with top prizes, interestingly enough, going mostly to the villains. A seven-year-old ‘Dobby’ did manage to steal our hearts though and walk away with first place. Across the city, The Brew Room also saw ‘Potterheads’ enjoying the book at an exclusive book launch party, dressed as everything from broomsticks to Hedwig the Owl.
The literary trail this week also included the launch of Amitav Ghosh’s latest book, The Great Derangement, at Taj Coromandel, with the added bonus of the author himself being present for an interactive session. While there were lots of fans in the audience, in this case the excitement was of a more subdued variety. Steering the conversation was Gopalkrishna Gandhi, addressing Ghosh’s groundbreaking return to non-fiction.
Elsewhere, at Sir Mutha Venkata-subba Rao Concert Hall, the grand finale of the K-Pop contest saw some fierce dance moves and serious vocal talent, where the first prize went to Delhi-based dance group, Plus 4 Crew, in the dance category. We also dug into some Korean delicacies there — like kimchi, ramen and banana milk. Next up was the finale of the Short + Sweet Theatre fest at Alliance Francaise, with the humorous A Tale of a Tall Girl directed by Sunil Vishnu K winning the best production prize. The clever use of wooden frames and a ladder as makeshift props definitely had our vote!