Harry Potter and the order of the furniture - Chittaranjan Avenue shop sent props for Goblet of Fire, is in the running for a repeat performance

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  • Published 22.01.07

It is just another 17-inch-by-13-inch cross-legged low silver stool, in a small office in Bal Mukund Makar Road, off Chittaranjan Avenue. Till you rewind to the ballroom sequence in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire with 250 such stools, upholstered in green and gold trimmings, in the Great Hall of Hogwarts for the Yule Ball where Harry dances with Parvati Patil.

Yes, all those stools were produced by Chiselarts, in the heart of Calcutta, and sent to the Triwizard Tournament at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in the fourth Potter film (2005).

And that’s not where Calcutta’s Potter connection ends. The Central Avenue furniture store, with its factory in Kankurgachhi, is gearing up to produce more such props for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, J.K. Rowling’s sixth saga.

“My business contact in UK, David Edmonds, suddenly called me and placed the order for Goblet of Fire in June 2004. I had to supply the consignment in just 25 days,” says Chiselarts proprietor Amitabh Bachawat.

Which the Muggle with a touch of magic did, at US $7 per stool to become part of Hollywood history. The next prop date with Pottermania comes up some time this year for the Half-Blood Prince, set to release in 2008. “I have not been told what props I have to make but Edwards has sounded me out about getting an order soon.”

Bachawat has been part of another youth hero screen saga, having sold a coat of arms to Spiderman 3 in 2004. Off-screen, Chiselarts furniture has invaded many a Hollywood home, from Bruce Willis to Kevin Costner. “I got an order from my US contact, Robert Lighton Furniture, New York, for four poster beds. One of them has been bought by Bruce Willis,” says Bachawat, who sold it for US $ 1,200. For Costner’s home, he made a dresser.

Bachawat has been doing furniture since 1985. Son of a father who pens poems and a mother who paints, Bachawat by profession is a chartered accountant, but he did attend classes at the Academy of Fine Arts. An erstwhile supplier to Harrods, Bachawat does a whole range of export furniture, like beds, chairs, ottomans, consoles, chests, tables, lounge chairs, planters’ chairs and more.

The furniture at Chiselarts is handmade from rare tropical hardwood like mahogany, teak and what Bachawat calls Black Sishir. His pieces have a finish of shellac, spirit and oil to give them a natural look. The upholstery is done abroad, the wood comes from all over Bengal, but all his craftsmen in Kankurgachhi are local. “Our craftsmanship and skill give us an edge over others,” says Bachawat, eyeing his next piece of Potter action.