My Name is Khan producer and director Karan Johar, whose film is being lauded by audiences and critics, says he was fed up with the typical Bollywood stuff.
"I was fed up with Bollywood, its item numbers, big sets - it was all too easy and getting repetitive for me. I wanted a challenge. "I'm not tearing the envelope with this film, but just pushing it. The music is ethnic, commercial, all heart," he said at the red carpet premiere of the film at the Berlin International Film Festival Friday.
An emotional Johar thanked the people of Germany for making them feel at home. "We were anxious being in Berlin when we were releasing (the film) in Mumbai, but thank you so much for making us feel at home here.
"It is such an honour to be at Berlin, thanks to festival director Dieter Kosslick and India programmer Dorothee Wenner, and our distributor Fox. We love Germany. We get such unconditional love only from our mothers and our fans in Germany," he said.
Beyond the Indian and NRI markets, the film is expected to touch a chord in countries with Muslim populations, as it presents the pacifist Muslim point of view post-9/11.
Karan exults: "The film is connected with Islam and the rest of the world. It grossed the highest ever in UK, with 123,000 pounds in just one day, which even beat the 121,000 pounds that 3 Idiots took in two days. It was released with 30 extra prints in the Middle East. But it's a wide spectrum release worldwide.
"It was not specifically my endeavour to reach world markets. But emotions are never geographic, they are felt. The problem I've discussed is not only within our country, but across the globe. If I had made it about our internal problems, it would have diluted the impact. Hence the large scale. I wanted Indians to take a stand on humanity through films," he added.
German director Uli Gaulke, who was at the premiere, said: "My Name is Khan combines the very important topic of terrorism through the eyes of Muslims post-9/11, with an emotional story. This is such a big political topic, yet I have seen no films on the Muslim viewpoint.
"And this film is also so intimate, personal and emotional. Initially I was disappointed, we were all waiting for the dancing to begin and nothing happened. But instead came such a dramatic energy, that I was moved to tears, and women all around me were crying. The cinematography and direction were great," he added.
"At its best My Name Is Khan, set mainly in America, is an affecting fairy tale about the perils of goodness," said the New York Times.
"Khan' is one of a handful of Hindi films (New York, Kurbaan) about Indians living in a paranoid, post-9/11 America, and there's something fascinating about looking at this country through a Bollywood lens, even when the story is a kind of fairy tale."
"Skillfully directed by Karan Johar and with an evocative score by Shankar, Ehsaan & Loy, 'Khan' jerks tears with ease, while teaching lessons about Islam and tolerance," the Times said.