Santosh Sivan's Tahaan wins highest award at Stuttgart Film Festival

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By Subhash K. Jha Bollywood Hungama News Network

Germany's only annual festival celebrating Bollywood cinema in Stuttgart concluded on July 19. And the highest honour went to Santosh Sivan's Hindi film Tahaan.

But the cinematographer-filmmaker shooting for Mani Ratnam's Raavan in distant inaccessible Chalakudy in Kerala didn't know about the triumph until three days after it happened!

Yes, the winner of the top award 'The German Star Of India' award at Stuttgart Film Festival was Santosh Sivan's film Tahaan about the adventures of a little boy and his pet donkey in militant Kashmir.

Kunal Kohli who was the only Indian jury member at the awards said, "There were other top contenders like Neeraj Pandey's A Wednesday, Piyush Jha's Sikandar, Nishikant Kamat's Mumbai Meri Jaan, Umkanth Thumrugoti's 7 Days In Slow Motion , and Gabricha Paus' The Damned Rain. All the jury members loved the innocence of Tahaan. It reminded all them of Robert Benigni's Life Is Beautiful."

Kohli says the jury loved all the performances in Tahaan, especially Sarika's and the child actor Purav Bhandare who played the main part.

Santosh who's shooting for Mani Ratnam's Raavan in the interiors of Kerala is delighted by the progress that Tahaan has made in the festival map. "It's amazing what an impact the little film made. I didn't hear about Stuttgart until Wednesday because I'm totally out of civilization."

Talking about the German market, Kunal Kohli says, "Germany has emerged as one of the most powerful and influential market for Bollywood. Do you know the CD covers of Hindi films released in Germany are in German? We need to take that area more seriously.