IMAGINING INDIA: INTERVIEW WITH FEST HEAD STRÖHL
The growing Indian Middle Class has its own world view, and its own cinema to match: combining familiar elements of Bollywood romance, noir crime and reflective social dramas in a new, broad-based narrative that seeks to appeal to a large audience commercially while blazing new trails artistically.Munich Filmfest director Andreas Ströhl has been trying to put together a sidebar featuring the highlights of modern Indian film for two years. This year, it finally all came together. Working with film expert S.V. Raman of the Goethe Institute Kolkata, Ströhl has assembled a crop of movies that reflect the India of modern Mumbai and the Silicon Plateau: "The reason for our upcoming India Special is simply that India is the biggest film production country in the world, and most people here have a rather distorted view of what is going on in India. Most of them identify Indian film with Bollywood; some may have Satyajit Ray in mind or perhaps films in the style of Western films d'auteur. What I find interesting today, however, is that there seems to be a new kind of film in India now. I suppose it has to do with the rapid social changes the country is going through. The rising middle class and their Western life style may be the reason why there are suddenly films that seem to be made for multiplex cinemas, films that are "only" two hours long, that do have a stringent plot and a psychological development of their characters, films that are about something. But still they incorporate a lot of Bollywood and mainstream elements like music and dance - however, in more organically integrated ways than before. At the same time it seems that the Indian film industry is also looking abroad: for the distribution of some of their films but also for coproduction. This is briefly what we want to communicate in Munich," says Ströhl.
You can find the complete program of this year's India Special online here as of June 7th.