As fans mark the 20th anniversary of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, the first film adaptation of JK Rowling’s popular series, here’s introducing you to the Indian cousin of the magical series — Aabra Ka Dabra.
The 2004 film starred Athit Naik in the lead role as the young magician, Potter if you will, while Hansika Motwane played his bestie, a desi Hermione of sorts. Said to be the first 3D plus film in India, it also starred Shweta Tiwari, Anupam Kher, Satish Kaushik, Archana Puran Singh, Johnny Lever and also had Prabhudeva performing on a song. Directed by Dheeraj Kumar, the music of Aabra Ka Dabra, with eight tracks, is credited to Himesh Reshammiya.
The film traded in Voldemort for an evil witch (Jaadugarni Bijli) who wants a magical mirror, from which she can gain magical powers. As she reaches Guru Adityanand, she finds he has the most powerful chhadhi (enters the Bollywood Elder Wand), and the two fight over it. About 200 years later, we enter Hogwarts, or Abra Ka Dabra, the magical school. We meet Shanu, the lead star and the school’s caretaker, now rechristened Chaukidaar Lembo Chacha, who can transform himself into a ball. Just like Hagrid, he too has a ‘past’ at the school, and is now the guard at the school.
If you have found Hindi dubbed version of Harry Potter funny where Gryfindor became Garuddwar and Dementors were Dumpichas, Aabra Ka Dabra takes you to a different level of cringe. Added to that is Parle-G ad integration, making it the perfect film to treat insomnia.
Even Quidditch is played in Abra Ka Dabra, but brooms are traded for flying carpets. Our Hagrid, played by Kher, has to pull in a double shift as his character gets the shades of Prof Lupin. He is a friend of Shanu’s father and pledges to protect him at any cost. Also, instead of the invisibility cloak, we are treated to invisibility capsules that can help you vanish.
If you can somehow cross the halfway mark, there is a Prabhudeva dance song and – for some reason — Satish Kaushik holding forth on the rudiments of bhangra. After some fist fights with cloaked villains that may or may not be inspired by Death Eaters, and a test of knowledge by unseen powers, Harry Potter, sorry again, Shanu manages to save his father. He also gets hold of the jaadu chadhi. While the makers had promised a part two featuring Shanu and his magical adventures, better sense prevailed.
The film is available on YouTube and SonyLiv. Watch it at your own risk.