Germany’s only Indian film fest to premiere Mundhra’s film

June 4th, 2008 - 1:24 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Taare Zameen Par
By Mehru Jaffer
Stuttgart, June 4 (IANS) Bollywood and Beyond, Germany’s only Indian film festival that starts July 16, will premiere London-based Indian filmmaker Jagmohan Mundhra’s “Shoot on Sight”. The festival also acts as a meeting place for Indian and German firms. “We are happy to welcome Mr. Jag Mundhra in Stuttgart along with Mr. Richie Mehta whose film ‘Amal’ will compete for the German Star of India award along with seven other films listed in the feature film category,” Jessica Cope from the Filmbuero Baden Wuetemberg told IANS.

The award accompanies a cash prize of 4,000 Euros. The other two awards for the best documentary and best short Indian film win 1,000 Euros each.

While Mundhra’s film starring Naseeruddin Shah and Om Puri is based on the 2005 London tube station bombings, Mehta’s “Amal” is set in India and revolves around an autorickshaw driver Amal who is content with the small but vital role he serves - driving customers around New Delhi as quickly and safely as possible.

“Amal” is the Toronto born Mehta’s first feature film and remains one of Canada’s most talked about works with an Indian theme.

Also, Aamir Khan’s directorial debut “Taare Zameen Par”, about dyslexic children, will be showcased, but it is not yet certain whether the Bollywood star will attend the festival.

The purpose of the festival remains to reach out beyond entertainment and culture to act as a marketplace and communication centre for economic relations for Indian and German firms. Therefore the Indo-German Business forum is now a strong component of the festival.

The two-day forum, to be held July 17 and 18, will present a keynote address by Ajay Shankar, secretary for the department of Industrial policy and promotion (DIPP) and seven workshops led by professionals on different aspects of business issues concerning India and Germany.

The festival will celebrate its fifth anniversary this year and showcase approximately 60 films, including Bollywood blockbusters like “Jodhaa Akbar”. But the focus is on arthouse productions and documentaries in an attempt to provide a cross-section of the Indian film scene.

Apart from that, in the Indian Shorts section, four AIDS films sponsored by the AIDS-Jaago Project will be screened. They are Vishal Bharadwaj’s “Blood Brothers”, Mira Nair’s “Migration”, Santosh Sivan’s “Prarambha” and Farhan Akhtar’s “Positive”.

The highlight, according to the hosts of the fifth anniversary fare of Bollywood and Beyond, is the German premiere of Bollywood star Aamir khan’s directorial debut “Taare Zameen Par”.

Well-known socialite Shobha De will also be there. She will answer questions related to Bollywood gossip.

The festival will also organise music and dance events with domestic and international artists as well as a series of lectures covering politics, culture and society. The effort is to intensify the Indian experience in the very heart of Europe.

The Street of India will be lined as usual with Indian food stalls and bazaars will sell jewellery, craftwork, clothing, books, and CDs.

The Indian party will feature the English-Indian DJ Punjabi MC, famous around the world for his hit “Mundian to bach ke” this year. The Bhangra Brothers, DJs Keralaboy, MC Sulal Kool and DJ Pinju, as well as the Flying Dholis will be there too. Titled European Electronic meets Indian Vibes, the party will rock at Stuttgart’s Buddha Lounge Red Mandarin.

The festival will be organised by Filmbuero, an NGO founded in 1982. It represents the interest of filmmakers in Germany’s Baden Wuerttemberg province. It also organises French Film Days in Stuttgart.

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