Meet Manali Datar, aka Rose Granger-Weasley from Harry Potter And The Cursed Child
The BFA Music Theatre graduate, who grew up in Pune, is living the Gen-Z dream
Twenty-one-year-old Manali Datar is living the Gen Z dream. The BFA Music Theatre graduate from Victorian College of the Arts (VCA), who was born in Nashik and spent her childhood in Pune before moving to Australia, is currently essaying the role of Rose Granger- Weasley in the Australian stage version of the most exciting theatrical spectacle of the decade—Harry Potter And The Cursed Child. After London and New York, Melbourne is only the third city where fans can catch the show. And ever since it opened this past February, muggles have thronged the Princess Theatre to watch the two-part extravaganza that features mesmerising, live on-stage magic that ranges from recreating the Hogwarts Express to depicting a jaw-dropping scene in the Great Lake, all before your eyes. After being among a lucky few to watch the play, ELLE spoke with Datar about her stereotype-busting role and her undying love for the performing arts:
ELLE: Give us a glimpse into your childhood.
Manali Datar: My parents encouraged my love for music, art and acting. I was always singing and dancing, copying accents and dialogue off TV shows and movies, and performing anywhere I could find an audience. Getting into VCA, however, was the catalyst that pushed me to see my passions as a real career.
ELLE: How did you land the role?
MD: I auditioned in 2017 and was called back four times to read scenes for Rose, only to finally learn that I got the part the day before my twentieth birthday.
ELLE: What do you love about Rose?
MD: She’s feisty, ambitious, and witty—so much like Hermione was as a young woman. In her, I see myself and every other young woman of colour who is venturing out into life, attempting to trust in her curiosity, her knowledge, and her strength to change the world.
ELLE: Casting non-white actors as Hermione and Rose in the stage versions created a stir, despite JK Rowling tweeting that she never technically said Hermione was white. What’s your advice for POC actors?
MD: Your voice is your most powerful asset. You deserve to tell stories and have your story told. You bring a unique, lived experience to the table. Don’t shy away from your identity and never forget where you came from.
From left: Sean Rees-Wemyss (Albus Potter), Manali Datar (Rose Granger-Weasley) and William McKenna (Scorpius Malfoy)
ELLE: What’s your favourite spell?
MD: “Accio!” I’m always hungry. Imagine being able to summon snacks. I’m mad with power at the very thought.
ELLE: Pick a Deathly Hallow.
MD: The Invisibility Cloak for when I want to people-watch or read in peace.
Harry Potter And The Cursed Child is running through March 2020.
Visit: Harrypottertheplay. com/au/
GETTING THERE: Singapore Airlines flies from Mumbai to Melbourne via Singapore.
Photographs: Damian Bennett (Manali Datar), Matt Murphy