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Magic mania

Harry Potter is wielding his magic wand all over the world, but film-maker Sandip Ray can’t understand what the fuss is all about. “I am totally mystified at the success of these Harry Potter books that seem to have come out of nowhere and captured the imagination of so many youngsters all over the world,” says the editor of Sandesh, who admits that he finds it difficult to produce his children’s magazine every month. He doesn’t think the Potter films — the latest was released on Friday — have anything to do with the global craze. “The films are good and have made an impact but even without the help of the celluloid, the books have been phenomenally successful,” says Ray Junior. Then what’s the secret' If we could break the spell, the world would be J.K. Rowling.

Maya in Wonderland

This is, clearly, the week for fantasy. Payal Dhar, who won quite a bit of acclaim for her book A Shadow in Eternity, is out with a sequel. The Key of Chaos is about 13-year-old Maya Subramanian’s forays into another world. Published by Zubaan, the book is the stuff that dreams are made of. And it is evident that the Bangalore-based author, who likes her Terry Pratchett, is a fantasy buff. She plays computer games, loves Cadbury chocolates and crochets in her spare time. And if that’s not fantastic, what is'

Ismat in Mumbai

No, we are not naming Guru Dutt, but you could draw your own conclusions from Ismat Chugtai’s newly translated book, Ajeeb Aadmi — a novel set in the Mumbai film world of the Forties and Fifties. Women Unlimited is just out with A Very Strange Man, translated into English by New York-based academic Tahira Naqvi. The book tells the story of an actor-director called Dharam Dev who is in love with an actress called Zarina Jamal. Dev’s wife, a famous playback singer, becomes an alcoholic. Zarina spurns Dev, who dies of an overdose. Sounds familiar' But the trick will be in the way Chugtai, one of the greatest narrators of all time, tells the story.

Ring ring

Did we hear you say Tanishaa, who' You know, the actress who is better known as Kajol’s little sister, or Tanuja’s daughter, or Rani Mukherjee’s cousin or Ajay Devgan’s sister-in-law' The one who over-acted — sorry, acted — in the eminently forgettable teen-flick, Neal--Nikki, where you couldn’t tell whether she was Neal or Nikki' Well, she says she is not engaged to Uday Chopra, her co-star in Neal--Nikki. That’s news, for nobody knew that she was engaged to him in the first place. After all, Uday Chopra’s name doesn’t ring much of a bell either, unless you remember that he is Yash Chopra’s son and Aditya Chopra’s brother. But the denial of a story that never quite hit the headlines would suggest that we can’t write Tanishaa off yet: the lady still nurtures ambitions to make it big in the Mumbai film industry. After four flops, she is pinning all her hopes on her role in Sarkar 2. Good luck, Tanishaa. Who'

Scent of a man

People are superstitious about ladders and black cats; our man Hrithik has a thing for perfumes. But, thankfully, he sees them as his lucky mascot. The buzz has it that for every film that Hrithik Roshan shoots, the actor chooses a particular perfume which he sticks to till the project comes to an end. The crew of Jodha Akbar, currently being shot, should be happy. A perfume — even the same one day after day — is, after all, so much better than something like hair oil!

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