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Aamir refused to be on Berlin jury thrice!

entertainment Updated: Jan 31, 2011 14:22 IST
Hiren Kotwani

Come February 8 and Aamir Khan and Kiran Rao will take off to the German capital, for the Berlin Film Festival, where he’s finally accepted the invitation to be a member of the jury. The festival organisers have been approaching the actor-filmmaker to be part of the jury since 2008, but he kept declining as he was occupied with his films. So when they renewed the offer for the fourth time, he couldn’t refuse.

Enthusiastic to watch all the new films at the fest next month, Khan says, “I look forward to experiencing what the difference voices in world cinema have to say. And not to forget, I’m also equally excited about exchanging ideas and viewpoints with the other highly respected members of the jury.”

The seven-person jury, headed by Italian-American actor Isabella Rossellini also includes Australian film producer Jan Chapman, German actor Nina Hoss, Canadian filmmaker Guy Maddin, British costume designer Sandy Powell and Iranian director Jafar Panahi.


The 11-day festival, which commences on February 10, will feature 22 films in its main programme, 16 of which will vie in the competitive section.

Looks like a complete season of art house cinema for Khan, who’s still basking in the glory of

Dhobi Ghat

, which also marked his wife Kiran Rao’s debut as a director. The ‘art house’ genre film has not only received critical accolades, but also netted decent collections in the first week of its release.

When Khan was first approached to be a member on the jury three years ago, he couldn’t take it up as he was going to start shooting for A Murugadoss’s


. The following year, he had to decline the invite as he had committed dates for Rajkumar Hirani’s

3 Idiots

. Last year’s Berlin Film Festival was very important to him as his production,

Peepli Live

, helmed by Ashusha Rizvi, was also being screened there. Unfortunately, he couldn’t make it as his father, veteran filmmaker Tahir Hussain, passed away on February 2, 2010.

Reportedly, the festival director Dieter Kosslick loved

Peepli Live

so much that he and Dorothee Wenner, Berlinale’s special representative for Indian cinema, decided that they’d ensure Khan agrees to be part of the jury this year.

Recalling Kosslick’s persistent invitations, Khan says, “I was of course very happy to be invited, but I had to decline as I was busy. So he immediately inquired, ‘Ok, how about 2011?’ It is a pleasure, in fact an honour, to be invited to be part of the jury of one of the most respected festivals in the world.”

Not just the organisers of Berlinale, but also many other film professionals are pleased to hear that Khan finally agreed. But the best compliment seems to have come from Gerline Seitner of the Austrian Film Institute. He was quoted in the news as having said:

“I think it is great that such a versatile filmmaker is on the Berlinale jury. He knows every aspect of filmmaking, from acting to directing and, of course, producing. I hope he will stay in that last role in the coming years because it means we can look forward to more unusual and surprising Hindi films. If you look at the way he promotes his projects, I would want him as a producer if I were to make a film.”

No wonder wife Kiran Rao says, “That’s why a lot of directors want to work with Aamir. He brings something special to the film that they want to see it make that impact.”