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Twi-hards beat the Pi-hards

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2: Edward Cullen kisses Bella Swan on her neck from behind. [Sudden cut-jump to next scene] #Heartbreak

Life of Pi: Richard Parker the Royal Bengal tiger jumps at Pi (and us) — in 3D — for the first time on the lifeboat from under the tarpaulin. # Heart-stop

It was a rare Friday when a Hollywood double bill drew all the “ooohs” and “aaahs” in cinemas across Calcutta.

Days after Jab Tak Hai Jaan and Son of Sardaar fought the Diwali duel, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 2 and Life of Pi, both adaptations from bestsellers and both made on a budget of $120 million, divided the audience into Twi-hards and Pi-hards. In round one, the vampires made a meal of the tiger.

Breaking Dawn 2, the last film in the five-film Twilight movies adapted from Stephenie Meyer’s blockbuster franchise, was off to a flyer at the plexes. “The morning shows were 80 per cent full and that just shows the kind of youth following the series has. Like with the Harry Potter trio, if you have been with the three main Twilight characters — Edward, Bella and Jacob — since inception, you have to see how it all comes to a close as soon as possible. You can’t let your friends talk about it before you’ve seen it!” said a multiplex official.

Ticket sales of the first four films worldwide have surpassed $2.5 billion and the Twitter handle for the film saga@Twilight is the first-ever movie account to have reached one million followers.

No wonder morning multiplex shows were flooded by young Twi-hards. At the second show in INOX (Forum), from the moment the opening credits rolled till the end of the movie, the young crowd gasped and laughed, clapped and cheered. “I got the tickets yesterday itself as I have been craving to watch it ever since Bella got transformed into a vampire and opened her eyes in Part I,” gushed Ruchi Bakhai, a student of Rabindra Bharati University, who was almost in tears when the movie ended.

She was not the only one. “I love Edward and only Edward! I cannot believe there won’t be any more Twilight movie,” said Shveta Rawat, a student of St. Xavier’s College. She was among those who suffered a #Heartbreak when the romantic scene between the Edward and Bella “ended so abruptly”. “I expected a little more of love-making scenes!” confessed the Twi-hard who has already got repeat-viewing tickets for Sunday.

There were gasps galore when Carlisle’s head was ripped off, there were “awwws” aplenty when Bella opened her eyes to see Edward for the first time, and cheers all around when Bella went into kickass mode.

Paling in comparison was Life of Pi, with Ang Lee’s astonishing 3D adaptation of Yann Martel’s book about a 16-year-old Indian boy stuck with a tiger in the middle of the Pacific Ocean opening to 20-25 per cent occupancy at the plexes.“Given the hype around the film and the India connect [there’s Irrfan, Tabu and Suraj Sharma in the cast and Pondicherry was a vital shooting site] we gave it six shows a day at most of the plexes and only four to Twilight,” added the plex official. “The word-of-mouth for Pi is excellent and the numbers should pick up over the weekend.”

The Pi party started early with INOX (Forum) and Fame (South City) screening previews on Thursday evening. “I went with my two kids and while they were jumping in joy watching the tiger in 3D, I also had a blast,” said Sheetal Agarwal, a fan of the book.

Life of Pi too has its share of ooh and aah moments — the glowing whale emerging from under the water and jumping into the starry night sky to millions of meerkats marching gleefully in the algae island Pi discovers!

So, with a combination of female fantasy and magic realism, just 10 days after a Shah Rukh Khan film has stormed the box-office and seven days before Aamir Khan’s next hits home, all moviegoes in town are talking about are the Cullens and the Patels. At least at the movies, Calcutta’s gone glocal this weekend.