27 September, 2020

When Harry Met Kali

Harry's fluent in Bengali too. But pirates are running for cover

Shamik Banerjee
When Harry Met Kali
If you are mad about Potter, but can’t afford the book or were late to the bookstore, don’t despair. You might have some real quirky choices. Like, say, Harry Potter stories that J.K. Rowling never wrote. Take, for example, Uttam Ghosh, a Calcutta-based journalist-turned-writer who wrote Harry Potter Kolkataye (Harry Potter in Kolkata) where Harry, believe it or not, meets famous fictional characters from Bengali literature. Then there are translated pirate editions: another Calcutta publisher came out with Harry Potter O Parash Pathar, a Rs 50 unauthorised translation by two obscure local writers of the first book, Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone.

The dons of book piracy may work out of Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore, but it’s in Calcutta where Potter piracy is at its creative best. Ghosh’s homespun Potter story and the translation jointly sold some 15,000 copies before Bloomsbury’s copyright lawyer came visiting the publishers in the city’s crowded...



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