Indian film festival opens in Germany

Stuttgart, July 17 (DPA) An entertaining documentary about a village and its problems with a wild bull opened Germany's only annual festival of Indian cinema Wednesday in the southern city of Stuttgart.

Organizers said they hoped to sell 13,000 tickets this year for the screenings over five days at Stuttgart's Metropol cinema.

A business-opportunities forum will be held during the film event. The Indian ambassador to Germany, Meera Shankar, stressed Wednesday that Indian films were a $2-billion-per year industry.

While Bollywood romances have developed their own fan community in Germany, the fifth festival opened with something completely different, Valu - The Wild Bull. The film is the directing debut by Umesh Vinayak Kulkarni, who was scheduled to attend the festival.

Shot in the Marathi language, it tells a gently humorous story of Indian villagers who hope the film about their attempts to catch the marauding bull will make them famous, though the focus is really on their vanities, conflicts and embarrassing secrets.

It won a best-director prize at this year's Pune International Film Festival.

Stuttgart, which was twinned with Mumbai 40 years ago, calls the festival "Bollywood and Beyond" to emphasize that the 56 movies cover the range from romances to the more intellectual fare usually only shown in art cinemas.

Live dance shows, musical concerts and lectures on Indian cinema and a novel "Street of India" presentation space with handicrafts, books and snacks from India round out the movie programme, which is organized by the film promotion board of Baden-Wuerttemberg state.

Best-film prizes, including the 4,000-euro ($6,250) German Star of India award for best director, will be handed out Sunday.

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