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Germany's Indian film fest opens with Luck By Chance

entertainment Updated: Jul 15, 2009 20:36 IST

Zoya Akhtar's directorial debut Luck by Chance inaugurated Germany's only annual festival of Indian cinema amidst great fanfare.

Zoya's director brother Farhan Akhter's Rock On!, which marks his debut as an actor, will also be screened at Bollywood and Beyond, Germany's only festival dedicated to Indian movies.

"I'm really excited to have Luck by Chance at the festival. Bollywood and Beyond is a platform for Indian cinema in Europe and it's great to be represented and featured with such gusto," said Zoya by email.

However, most other films chosen for screening at the six-day festival, which concludes July 19, revolve around the issue of security in India.

"The emphasis in this year's film programme is on security. Apart from feature films like Tahaan, A Wednesday and Mumbai Meri Jaan and short films like A Mango Tree In The Front Yard, one of the Tea Talk sessions is dedicated to the same topic," Jessica Cope told IANS.

Cope, who worked closely with curators Uma Da Cunha, Indian film expert and Theresa Hayes in Los Angeles to choose the films, added that compared to last year, when 60 films were screened, this year only 47 films have been selected due to the economic downturn.

"The six-year-old festival is at a crossroad. It was extremely difficult to find financiers this year. The strike of Indian producers and multiplexes releases were postponed, which made it difficult for us to screen big productions in Stuttgart," said Cope.

Festival highlights include screening of Onir's Sorry Bhai and Amol Palekar's Samaantar and the German Premieres of Abhishek Kapoor's Rock On! and Romina Power's short film Upaya.

Upaya is about the journey of Hans to Varanasi where he falls ill. His feverish dreams and strange visions lead the Westerner to embrace Buddhism and to spend the rest of his life in a convent in the Himalayas.

Shah Rukh Khan's Billu will also be screened.

There is less glamour this year with director Kunal Kohli as the only 'star' at a festival that has in the past hosted guests like Shobha De, Ayesha Dharker, Jagmohan Mundhra and Rajat Kapoor.

Stuttgart has hosted Bollywood and Beyond since 2004. From 3,500 visitors in the first year, the number stood at 13,000 in 2008 when 60 feature films, shorts movies and documentaries showcased India's many film genres including the reaching out to India by filmmakers living outside the country.