Home Bollywood Indian Film Festival goes beyond Bollywood | Film | DW

Indian Film Festival goes beyond Bollywood | Film | DW


Until a few years ago, the festival in the southern German city of Stuttgart, known as “Bollywood and Beyond,” was a celebration of mainstream Indian cinema, with arthouse cinema on the fringes. But for the organizers of the annual Stuttgart event, standard cabaret theaters are starting to get expensive.

“This Bollywood factor, you can clearly say now, is a huge industry, and as a small festival in Stuttgart, we can’t keep up with it,” said festival spokesman Hans-Peter Jahn. He explained that Bollywood filmmakers often demand high prices for big films, and it would be impossible for the actors to show those films in Stuttgart.

However, the era of big Bollywood movies seems to be fading, with new, more engaged filmmakers presenting their films, Jahn added. Fortunately, the pandemic-induced lockdown has been a boon for low-budget filmmakers, who also profit from the domestic and global exposure of streaming sites like Amazon Prime and Netflix.

Women in Indian costumes at the Stuttgart Indian Film Festival 2013

The festival also brings together German fans of Indian cinema

a loser’s day in the sun

This year’s selection offers a variety of entries from almost all regions of India. One of the festival’s highlights is the Oscar-winning documentary “Writing with Fire” directed by Sushmit Ghosh and Rintu Thomas.

The film follows the struggles of women who run the newspaper “Khabar Lahariya” (“New Wave” in Hindi) in rural northern India. For many people living in the area, the newspaper provides an independent source of information. The newspaper was also recognized by Deutsche Welle for its outstanding work at the 2014 Global Media Forum.

Other entries this year include director Irfana Majumdar’s “Shankar’s Fairies,” which tells the story of the master-servant relationship between generations.

“Tangra Blues” is a Bengali rap musical. It tells the story of Kolkata slum children who want to shine in their lives.

“Skater Girl,” directed by Manjari Makiani, tells a similar story about a girl who wants to challenge the village’s restrictive culture that prevents female family members from leaving the house and allows them to marry early.

A highlight of this year’s event is ‘Jhund’ (Hindi for herd), which features Indian superstar Amitabh Bachchan, and is set in the life of Vijay Barse, who founded Africa in Nagpur, western India. Government organization Slum Soccer.

Rethink Gandhi

Another “must-see” recommendation from the organizers is director Amartya Bhattacharya’s film “Goodbye Godard,” about a man in a village in Bangladesh, He usually watches porn movies every night. One day, he accidentally borrowed a video from French director Jean-Luc Godard and got hooked on his film. He then proposed a Godard Film Festival in his village, causing confusion and controversy.

Manish Saini’s film “Gandhi & Co,” about two mischievous children, revisits the cultural significance of the Mahatma.

Films from southern India include director Sharma Prasad’s “Kasiminte Kadal,” about a teenage boy who is forced to move to a seaside town with his terminally ill father. The other is “Karma cafe” by Vinod Bharathan, about a man who has returned from abroad and must prove himself to the outside world.

Short films include Navin Chandra Ganes’ “Decubitus”; this documentary depicts the lives of members of the Banhadda tribe in central India, where the birth of a girl is considered lucky.

Devashish Makhija’s “Cheepatakadumpa” takes viewers through the lives of three male friends who openly talk about their sexual experiences.

Amitabh Bachchan

One of India’s legendary actors: Amitabh Bachchan’s film is still 1981

At the end of the festival on July 24, jury members will announce the winners in three categories, including Best Feature Film, Best Documentary and Best Short Film. The winner of the first category will receive a prize of €4,000, while the winners of the other two categories will each receive a prize of €1,000.

Indian Film Curator’s Medal

The Stuttgart Indian Film Festival is organized annually by Filmbüro Baden Württemberg. The main sponsor of the event is Andreas Rapp, entrepreneur and Honorary Consul of the State of Baden-Württemberg to the Republic of India. This year, organizers also paid tribute to the festival’s curator, Mumbai-based Uma da Cunha, who has curated films for the event for nearly 20 years.

 Uma Da Cunha (left) and her husband Gerson

Uma da Cunha (left) has been planning the festival for almost two decades

On July 20, the Chancellor of Baden-Württemberg, Winfried Kretschmann, will award the Staufer Medal to the curator. Since the late 1970s, da Cunha has been helping organize Indian film festivals overseas, including in Toronto and Busan, and has been a consultant to the state’s founders, Los Angeles, London, The Hague, Montreal, and Houston.

She is also an outstanding casting director, having worked on films such as Jane Campion’s Holy Smoke, Deepa Mehta’s Water and Ashutosh Gowarika’s Lagan . In 2009, Da Cunha was a member of the jury in the “Un Certain Regard” category at the Cannes Film Festival.

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