The dons of book piracy may work out of Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore, but it’s in Calcutta where Potter piracy is at its creative best. Ghosh’s homespun Potter story and the translation jointly sold some 15,000 copies before Bloomsbury’s copyright lawyer came visiting the publishers in the city’s crowded College Street book district and warned the two publishing houses who were bringing out the books to stop, or else. They did.
Ghosh, 58, son of Subodh Ghosh, famous Bengali author of such stories as Ajantrik which was filmed by Ritwik Ghatak, is unfazed. "I will now create my own Harry Potter," he says. "Can you suggest a name? I wish I had been as smart as a Russian author who’s named hers Potter Tanya Grotter." He’s possibly unaware that Rowling has already won a court case to stop this Russian Harry Potter-like book about a girl wizard and her days in a witch school called Abracadabra.
Ghosh is also hurt that his book has been ‘banned.’ He just can’t understand why Rowling, who’s richer than the Queen, could object to his poor man’s Potter that costs only Rs 30. "My book is about a young lad called Jhontu who doesn’t get tickets to the latest Harry Potter flick. So he goes to bed with the book tucked under his pillow. Harry appears to him in a dream and narrates the entire story to him."
Ghosh’s ‘story’, however, is a total lift from The Philosopher’s Stone. The publisher even lifted 16 stills of the Warner Brothers film and put them on the cover and inside. Ghosh now plans "to pursue writing full time." His forte, he says, is reinterpreting classics—he has a book called Mr Chatterjee’s Lover. He’s also written what he called "erotica"—one book’s called Nishiddho Swad (Forbidden Taste). Right now though he’s forbidden to lift Potter.