Indian cinema is all set to go to the city of Stuttgart in July for the fourth annual 'Bollywood and Beyond film festival', an event that was launched in 2004 after being jointly developed by an Indian producers' association and Stuttgart city officials that were part of a delegation attending the annual Stuttgart Meets Mumbai event in India.
Interestingly now this event has quickly become much more than a regional celebration of film and has come to symbolize the increasingly strong relationship between Stuttgart and Mumbai."City partnerships tend to get neglected after a while. The festival really revitalized the relationship and it has helped create greater interest on both sides," says festival director Oliver Mahn.
While the fest presents high-profile Bollywood productions, the event also seeks to showcase smaller independent and arthouse films, which don't usually get the wide recognition that the major productions enjoy.
This year's fest, which runs July 11-15, kicks off with John Jeffcoat's Toronto screener 'Outsourced', about a young office manager in Seattle forced to travel to India after his service call center is relocated in Mumbai.
A total of 60 titles are being showcased at the fest, which includes Rajnesh Domalpalli's Vanaja, a film that won the director the first feature film prize at this year's Berlinale; Mani Ratnam's drama Guru which has Abhishek Bachchan in the lead, Farhan Akhtar's action remake Don, Saket Chaudhary's comedy Pyaar Ke Side Effects and Himansu Khatua's Kathantara -- Another Story, a burgeoning romance set against a natural catastrophe.
The festival which has expanded greatly into a major cultural and economic happening also includes the Indian Food Festival as well as panel discussions, dance workshops and the highly anticipated Bombay Boogie Night party. Last year's fest sold 6,500 tickets, but attendance to the broader umbrella event reached a total of 8,500 people. Organizers are expecting bigger crowds with the launch of the Indo-German Business Forum this year, which will run alongside the film and food fests.
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