Stuttgart, July 11 (IANS) Bollywood and Beyond, Germany's only festival of Indian cinema, will kickstart July 16 with the Marathi film 'Valu - The Wild Bull', a rib tickling film about a free spirited bull.
The tickets for 'Valu', director Umesh Vinayak Kulkarni's first film, on the opening night are sold out and a second show is already announced.
'I am very curious to see how the audience reacts to 'Valu'. The notion of India as seen through Bollywood films is well known, but my film deals with issues like shit pit, coconut breaking and a cow giving birth,' Kulkarni told IANS in an e-mail interview.
An alumnus of Pune's Film and Television Institute of India, Kulkarni has been making the rounds of several international festivals since the start of the year and will accompany 'Valu', his debut feature film, to Stuttgart.
Wiebke A.C. Reiss, the festival's programme director, said: 'I chose 'Valu' to open the festival because I fell in love with the wild bull. In fact, I am in love with all the characters in the film and with the village.
Reiss added that 'Valu' also defies the cliche that Germans have no sense of humour.
'Valu' was released in January and screened soon after at the Berlin film festival. It is the first Marathi film to be selected for this year's Rotterdam film festival.
The film is a must for audiences here with little exposure to Indian cinema apart from Bollywood.
'At Bollywood and Beyond we want viewers to enjoy the amazing spectrum of films produced by the entire Indian film industry,' Reiss said.
Richie Mehta's 'Amal', about a Delhi scooter wallah and the interesting turn of events in his ordinary life, is the second debut film to be screened here beside 'Valu'.
The annual event will offer a mixed bag of 'thodi khushi thoda gham' this year.
While the festival opens with a feel good film like 'Valu', there are features, short films and documentaries that focus on serious issues like AIDS.
The short films include Mira Nair's AIDS Jaago films - 'Blood Brothers' by Vishal Bharadwaj, 'Migration' by Nair, 'Positive' by Farhan Akhtar and 'Prarambh' by Santosh Sivan.
Britain based Indian filmmaker Jagmohan Mundhra's 'Shoot on Sight', about the tragic bombings in London in 2005, is the main attraction of the festival.
The film will be screened June 20, soon after the awards ceremony where the German Star of India will go to the best film, along with a cash award of 4,000 euros.
Mundhra will attend the screening with producer Arun Govil and lead actor Naseeruddin Shah.
'Pancham Unmixed', the foot tapping tribute of Brahmanand Singh to the late Bollywood music director R.D. Burman is one documentary eagerly awaited by an audience crazy about Bollywood music.
Adding to the craze are loads of dance and music activities on the fringe of the festival, including a four-hour workshop titled Shah Rukh Khan Choreography.
At two sessions Derrick Linco, founder of Stuttgart's Bombay Dance Club, will coach fans to swing like a Bollywood star to the popular tune of 'Maahi ve' from the 2003 blockbuster 'Kal Ho Naa Ho'.
Columnist Shobha De will also attend the festival. She will present 'Superstar India', her latest book.
Irina von Bentheim, the German voice of the character Carrie in 'Sex and the City', will introduce De at two public events scheduled at Stuttgart's chic Cafe Schlossblick.
On the last of the festival De will talk on Bollywood Gossip and changes of Bollywood coverage in the new media.
Bollywood's representation at the festival, however, is conspicuous with films like 'Jodhaa Akbar', 'Taare Zameen Par' and 'Thoda Pyaar Thoda Magic'.