February 11, 2008

SRK. OSO. Berlinale. A State Of Nation Speech.

OSO had its German Premiere at the Berlinale Filmfestival in Berlin last Friday. And the Big Khan was attending in person. Plus he even gave a public lecture at the Berlinale Talent Campus on Sunday.

News like that made the German speaking fan-universe go crazy for the last few weeks. For various reasons.

One. That´s a quite simple one. Om Shanti Om will finally get a theatrical release in Germany. Eros and the big Khan himself promised a release with 50 copies nationwide. (That doesn´t sound much. But it is. Its actually the biggest Indian film release ever in Germany) Unlike us fortunate Austrian and Swiss fans who got OSO in cinemas at the same time as the rest of the world, Germany had to wait.

Two. SRK made his last public appearance in Germany back in 2005 at an ill-fated "fan-dinner" that is only remembered by mass-hysteria, tilting boats, shady organisers and fans loosing money. Since then he´s been pretty much a no-show in our part of the world.

Three. Germany is SRK territory as far as it concerns Bollywood cinema. That´s a plain fact. The so-called Bollywood Boom started in 2004 when K3G played on German TV for the first time. And back then it was SRK who captured the hearts of the viewers. Distributed by Rapid Eye Movies, a small German distributor specializing in Eastern cinema, a hype was born. K3G was followed by KKHH, KHNH and MHN. Ever since then the notion for viewers was (and for the main public it still is): If its there is a Bollywood film - it has Shah Rukh Khan in it. As if nobody else existed in Indian cinema.
Much to the chagrin of more broadminded or lets call them more committed Indian movie fans. That and the fact that the Mumbai film industry killed the German DVD market with the release of crap quality releases of almost all (even the stinkers) SRK movies to make a fast buck. Or even films that only show SRK on the cover. Or monkey business like that. Resulting in a steep drop in DVD sales, poor TV ratings and basically a dwindling interest by and a loss in credibility with the public. But I´m digressing here.]


So SRK came. He saw. And as far as the media coverage and the fan reactions go. He very much conquered. The tickets for the premiere were sold out in 7 (!) minutes. The ones for the lecture only took 15 minutes until the house full signs went up. Even tickets for the additional screenings (the ones without a personal appearance) where gone in under an hour. Blackmarket ticket prices went as high as 390$ for the 11$ premiere tickets (As seen on Ebay!)
On the night of the premiere itself all those waiting were treated to 40 minutes of an autograph signing, handshaking, hug and waves sending incredibly charming Shah Rukh on the red carpet and a good-humored SRK answering even the most rediculous questions with utmost patience and charm after the premiere. The media and fans loved it and him. From Friday night until this morning he was dominating the media coverage of the Berlinale. In the beginning the journalists were more stunned than impressed but during the course of the weekend SRK´s charm got them all. Here´s a link to the Berlinale website with a 30 min video of the (highly intimidating) photo-call and after that the official press conference on Friday. (The Talent Campus Lecture is also rumored to be put online in March)


So what do we, as non-desi Bollywood fans in Central Europe, take home from this weekend?
A) It looks like the "Restart" of Bollywood in Germany had a terrific initiation. In March we will see if the Boxoffice will react accordingly.
B) The German fans were right with their SRK infatuation. I have yet to read a feedback post in Marcos forum that has anything negative to say about his public appearances in Berlin. I don´t see any other (Bollywood) star of today pulling that off.
C) As for the really important stuff. He learned the German words: "Ja, Mann" and "wunderbar". He is said to have incredibly soft hands. And he seems to smell so-oho good. Well informed sources believe it to be Azzarro Silver Black *g*


Anonymous said...

Oh ja! Alle waren da und die Stimmung war super! I do not met anyone of any forum! Was I really in Berlin?

Beth Loves Bollywood said...

Of COURSE he smells good! You know how movie songs are always full of phrases about the aroma of love and stuff! Maybe they all come from SRK?

Anonymous said...

never dreamt he had such a big fan following there


Anonymous said...


I’ve lurked around your blog and love it! I added you to our blog roll, I hope that’s ok with you. I do the blog www.bollywoodfoodclub.com out of Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA along with my friend, Nandini.

I have wondered about the German Bollywood thing and now you’ve solved this question for me when you wrote in this post, “The so-called Bollywood Boom started in 2004 when K3G played on German TV for the first time. And back then it was SRK who captured the hearts of the viewers.”

I had always just chalked the Bollywood /German thing up to some Germans having good taste and penchant for organization and categorizing thing so well, pardon my stereotyping : ).

Now I’ve also noticed that the musician Prince has also had a large and dedicated fan base in Germany and I have made a connection between the star appeals of both men as has Germany. My personal Bollywood experience is also rooted in SRK, and I just finished “King of Bollywood” and drew a conclusion between SRK and Prince in my little review here.


I wrote a bit more here about how SRK got me hooked on Bollywood, when is maybe attributed to the small amount of German blood in my ancestry, hain na?


All the best,


Anonymous said...

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Beth Loves Bollywood said...

Sita - I don't think I follow you here...Bollywood ties to a penchant for organizing and categorizing? "Bollywood ist kein Genre," as some of our German friends say. http://www.bollywoodblog.de/wp-content/uploads/2006/03/genre.gif

And how does David Hasselhoff fit into your equation ;)

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