German’s only Indian film fest to premier Mundhra’s ‘Shoot on Sight’

June 4th, 2008 - 2:05 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Taare Zameen Par
By Mehru Jaffer
Stuttgart, June 4 (IANS) London-based Indian filmmaker Jagmohan Mundhra’s “Shoot on Sight” awaits its German premier at Bollywood and Beyond, the country’s only Indian film festival that also acts as a marketplace for building ties between Indian and German firms. To celebrate its fifth anniversary the festival will also premier Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan’s directorial debut “Taare Zameen Par”. The festival is from July 16 to July 20 in Stuttgart.

Mundhra, the London based Indian filmmaker will accompany his latest film on the 2005 London tube station bombings to Germany.

“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.

“Amal”, about an autorickshaw driver in New Delhi, is the Toronto born Mehta’s first feature film and remains one of Canada’s most talked about work with an Indian theme.

The purpose of the festival remains to reach out beyond entertainment and culture in fact to act as a marketplace and communication centre for forging business ties between 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.

Well-known Indian socialite Shobhaa De will star at an accompanying event to talk and to answer questions on Bollywood Gossip.

The festival will 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.

In the section titled Indian Shorts, four short films sponsored by the AIDS-Jaago Project will be screened. They are Vishal Bhardwaj’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 “Taare Zameen Par”. It is not yet certain whether Aamir will attend the festival.

On the fringe the festival offers music and dance events with domestic and international artists as well as a series of lectures with topics from 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.

Apart from 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 is being organised by the Filmbuero, an NGO founded in 1982 to represent the interest of filmmakers in Germany’s Baden Wuerttemberg province.

Apart from promoting the local movie industry, the Filmbuero prides itself in organising prestigious festivals like Bollywood and Beyond and French Film Days in Stuttgart.

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