Germany wooing Bollywood, offers subsidy for co-production

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Mumbai, Nov 3 (IANS) In a recognition of the increasing popularity of Hindi movies and stars, a German delegation met Bollywood filmmakers here to persuade them to shoot movies in their country as well as go in for Indo-German co-productions.

The delegation comprised the officials of Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, which facilitates foreign production companies to shoot their movies in Germany.

"Although we welcome Bollywood filmmakers to shoot their films in Germany, we are basically keen on Indo-German co-productions to make the bond between Bollywood and the German film industry more stronger," Fven Hraparing, the business head of Medienboard, Sunday told reporters.

Earlier, Christiane Raab, head of the Berlin Brandenburg Film Commission (BFC), had said in her letter to the Bollywood producers' associations that they also arrange funds for foreign production companies shooting in Germany.

She had also informed that Medienboard gives subsidy up to 30 million Euro ($39 million) for foreign projects found suitable for the grant.

The meeting was attended by a number of Bollywood filmmakers, including president of the Film and Television Producers' Guild, Manmohan Shetty as well as Ravi Chopra, Ramesh Taurani, Ratan Jain and Surinder Kapoor

"We will study their proposals and the Guild would be glad to act as a via media if any Indian filmmakers come forward for an Indo-German co-production," Shetty told IANS later.

Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan has a huge fan following in Germany. While attending the premiere of his movie "Om Shanti Om" at the 58th Berlin International Film Festival in February this year, the actor said that he wants to make a sequel to "Don" against the backdrop of Germany.

In 2007, India and Germany had signed the first Indo-German agreement on audio-visual co-production.

Of late, the German film industry is showing interest to benefit from the rapidly-evolving audio-visual market in India, as also to cooperarte with the Indian film industry, including Bollywood, considering the fact that it is not only the world's biggest, but also the fasted growing film industry.

Indo-German cooperation in filmmaking, however, dates back to 1937 when Bombay Talkies' "Acchut Kanya" starring Ashok Kumar and Devika Rani was directed by a German called Franz Osten. He had earlier directed silent movies like "The Light of Asia" (1925), "Shiraz" (1928) and "A Throw of Dice" (1929) for the production house, which was owned by Himanshu Rai.

Incidentally, it is not now that Bollywood movies have begun to win over the audiences abroad. Even when Indian diaspora never existed, "The Light of Asia" ran in a London cinema continuously for 10 months, aver the film historians.

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