Wands out!: Karachi Muggles flock to cinema for last Potter film

Tickets sold out but screenings to continue till August.

Meiryum Ali July 23, 2011


The girls' foreheads were gashed with scars. The boys rushed into the elevators in black gowns. If there had been wands, there would have been magic. But for Karachi's Harry Potter fans, a 4:15pm premiere of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II, at the Atrium Cinema was magical enough. It is the last film in the series after all.

Shiza and Naima were at the cinema with seven friends, aged between 17 and 20 years. "Harry Potter's just something you grow up with," gushed Naima.

Testament to how long Potter has been around was the fact that the majority of people who came to the premiere were mostly in their late teens or early 20s. Maham and Aroob, aged 21 and 20, respectively, remembered "running up the stairs for the tickets the day the doors opened." They have been "obsessively following Potter for ten years".

Asma, one of the few parents present, was roped in to see the film by her 15-year-old nephew. "He's in the line over there trying to get last minute tickets, but just look at the rush!" she pointed out, amused. Her young daughter of about 10 hasn't read the books but still shyly admitted that her favourite film was the Goblet of Fire.

The response so far has been "brilliant", according to Atrium senior manager of marketing Anita Kenneth. "From the day we started selling tickets this place has been buzzing," she told The Express Tribune. "Apart from a few limited tickets, almost all Friday, Saturday and Sunday tickets have been booked. We stopped phone bookings because there were just too many people."

Potter fans have been extremely lucky. According to Kenneth, the distributor was unsure whether to release it in Pakistan or not. "There's just never been demand for Potter before - not like this," she said, attributing the madness to it being the last film. "I mean it's Harry Potter - it's a lifetime experience," she emphasised. "There was an outpouring of support on our Facebook page, even people specifically calling to lobby for Potter."

The 3D factor helped. "Maybe if it was in 2D people would have just skipped the cinema and opted for a pirated DVD instead," Kenneth mused. It is all about the cinema experience as well and not just watching a film at home. Twenty-year-old Zara's biggest cause for concern was that her group of friends was supposed to dress up in gowns and wands but it didn't work out. Zara had wanted them to take a cue from the way she saw them do it in Canada where she watched Deathly Hallows Part I. "Over there, every second person was dressed up as a character," she said.

And even if the preparation did not go as far as costumes, there were people like Faizan who geared up by watching the films back to back. Zara poured over the books. And the two friends had even had a "little fight" over the last ticket - before they managed to buy another.

And when it comes to Harry Potter even Sameer Mahmood, 17, admitted that he would be coming back with more friends on Monday. "I honestly don't mind watching Harry Potter again," he said.

Small wonder that the Atrium's Kenneth mused: "It's times like these you wish you had a few extra cinemas, just to cope with all the fans."

Published in The Express Tribune, July 23rd, 2011.


ali | 10 years ago | Reply

Watched it last night in Rwp...Epic movie..gonna watch it again.

Ahad Nadeem | 10 years ago | Reply

It was a great experience plus the atmosphere was amazing too. Me and my group were the ones wearing gown and scars. blimey! cheers.

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