The fourth Bollywood film festival in Poland opens today but this time there won't be any movies of superstar Shah Rukh Khan who has a huge fan following in the country. If King Khan is missing from the event, he is being replaced by Singh Is Kinng.
This is the first time this has happened. Though the distributors were keen to organise a special show of My Name Is Khan, they could not persuade the 20th Century Fox, distributor of the movie, to agree.
"To have a film festival in Poland without Shah Rukh Khan's movie is like playing Hamlet without King of Denmark. Shah Rukh's popularity in Poland is amazing and every Bollywood buff knows him. His biography has been translated into Polish," said J.J. Singh, president of Indo-Polish Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IPCCI).
"It is a great opportunity for Akshay Kumar to make a place (for himself) in Polish psyche with his masala dances. I think young Poles will lap him up," said Indian businessman Riki Rana, who is also the son-in-law of legendary Bollywood singer Talat Mahmood.
Apart from the Akshay starrer, films selected for screening include Laaga Chunari Mein Daag, Tandoori Love, Amal, Jannat, Blue and Videsh.
"I am pretty sure films like Laaga Chunari Mein Daag and Jannat will create a niche in the crowd of masala films," observed Janusz Krzyzowski, president of the Indo-Polish Cultural Committee.
The festival is being organised by EPLPOL, a prominent distributor of Hindi films, along with Multikino, a chain of multiplexes in Poland.
The organisers this time selected cities like Krakow, Wroclaw, Poznan, Gdansk, Gdynia, Szczecin and Zabrze apart from capital Warsaw to screen the movies.
"It is really amazing the way Bollywood films have become a regular diet for Poles. Bollywood has raised the profile of India throughout Poland. Wherever and whenever I interact with Polish people, Bollywood invariably creeps in during our conversion," said Rajesh Vaishnaw, the Indian charge d`affaires to IANS.
To attract footfalls, cinema halls have reduced the ticket price by 20 per cent. "This is definitely going to encourage young Poles to see the Indian movies during the festival," said S. Kristofer, a young Pole.