The last Harry Potter film got released today bringing to an end to first cultural era of the 2000's. Millions of children across the globe spent years dreaming about Harry Potter. Now those kids aren't kids anymore but still that feeling lingers. So, I was thinking, what're the cultural eras we've had before? And why are they are cultural icons of those eras in the first place? The first question is easy to answer, and the second? Decide for yourself. 

1960's: The era of The Beatles
70's - Drugs, Horror movies, progressive rock, Led Zeppelin and definitive porn.
80's - Pop music, pop culture.
90's - I don't know, I was born then and I still don't have a particular liking for this decade but 90's was the time when indie cinema was revived thanks to auteurs like QT and Richard Linklater.
00's - Harry Potter, Superheroes and PG - 13 shite. 

As you can see the Brits have been the single largest creators of popular culture for more than two decades (the 70's included). And no doubt JK Rowling is famous for creating the biggest cultural icon of our times but the best part is, she's a Brit too! If history is something which repeats itself again then I believe this decade's icon will be from the Brits too, and I bet on it. (Sorry, Twilight fans, Stephenie Meyer is an American and as far as I know Jörg Buttgereit's "Nekromantik" makes more sense any day than "vampire- loves- ugly- girl" novels) 


Coming back, I never expected that I'll be a fan of one of the highest book selling series in the world (and the highest grossing movie series too) when my aunt brought the first two books in the Harry Potter series (adult scholastic version - hardcover) for me back in 1999. The main reason why I could connect with the story is that Harry Potter and me were of the same age and I loved Emma Watson as Hermoine Granger. Slowly the balance shifted towards the first reason and Emma Watson got erased from my memory when I read the sixth book in a local bookstore, I remember re-reading the "Horcruxes" chapter over and over and it remains to be my favorite HP chapter and also I regard it as the best creation JKR has made in HP series. Coupled with the movies, the books gave me a new high.


                         I remember watching the second and the fourth movie nearly twenty five times each (and very often during lunch at home) and they both collectively get into my list of most watched movies (trailing "Fight Club" and "The Usual Suspects" with 32 and 30 viewings each) there were days when I just used to chant the name 'Tom Marvolo Riddle' and point an invisible wand at my sister and say in a slightly hissing voice "My name is Lord Voldemort". For some reason I always loved the villains in movies (and stories) and I always wanted to read their back stories, the Harry Potter had more than what I wanted. Ten years back, I went to watch the first movie along with my parents (and I cried after the movie ended because I didn't want it to end - same with the second movie, in fact I still cry when a good movie ends) and ten years later I went to the same theater to watch the final film. Harry Potter movie series is great not because of its cinematic value, it's great because of it's emotional value. In fact, I'd rate the last movie a meager 5/10 for the cinematic value, I didn't watch it in 3D but I can imagine how it looks and according to me "Piranha 3D" is the best 3D movie ever made, period. But then, I gave it a straight 10 in Imdb, for the emotional experience it gave me. My friend S's innocent questions ("Arre,Is Voldemort a good guy?"), Varun's grief that a beautiful school like Hogwarts didn't deserve the state it was in at the end of the movie, Annop's gay jokes and the excitement of the kids sitting in the row behind us. The audience cheered at the right moments, I shouted till the extent of ripping my vocal chords apart, I loved explaining the plot to Varun (and in the process coaxing him to read the book series) and occasionally turning towards Anoop to say, "Emma Watson is sexy ra".  
                   
                                     I hated the final battle of Hogwarts, it was lame, even Justin Bieber could do a better job than that (in singing that is), I hated Lord Voldemort's death scene, Voldemort turning into some evil, flying insects is it? (The studio guys must've though "Let's add some 3D gimmick in the end) Ralph Fiennes acting skills were reduced to that of Ashton Kutcher's, he wanted to look (and sound) serious but he ended up doing neither. The essence of the seventh book was totally lost with many, many scenes being omitted (despite the movie being split into two parts). The movie was made because it had to be made (read it as money had to be made), it had nothing great to offer actually. Anoop was dissatisfied with the short kiss between Ron and Hermoine, I was dejected. Now that I'm an adult the movie was too PG-13 for my taste. I was hating the movie on the outsides but in the insides I was feeling sad that it was all coming to an end. Towards the end of the movie, all my previous Harry Potter experiences flashed before my eyes, I wanted to cry but I couldn't but I could feel my voice shake a bit. I jeered at the last scene when Harry and co. appear with minimal make-up to try and convince us that they were 38 year old's, it didn't work though. I was seeing the last bit of history, something that I'd be proud to tell the future generations. I came out and met quite a few old friends, suddenly I felt like I was in school. I was sad that the movie ended (but I didn't shed a tear) but happy to be part of cultural history, I watched all the HP books and movies and I watched the last movie on the first day! Suddenly, with all that crowd around me I knew what I was feeling like. I knew it, I was feeling the same ever since I read the first book for the first time. I was feeling like Harry Potter, definitely, Varun reminded me of Hermoine, Sandeep reminded me of Neville and Anoop reminded me of Bellatrix (Well, he asked me the name of the actress who portrayed that role in the movie and I quickly answered "Marla Singer and she goes to cancer support groups" Anoop said, "Oh no! Not Fight Club again!"). I, Harry Potter, then got onto my Firebolt (with Neville aka Sandeep) sitting behind me zapped into the cloudless, moonlit sky. It never ends.


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