India flags off at Berlin Film Festival

India flags off at Berlin Film Festival

Shah Rukh Khan's visit to Berlin invites high octane fan hysteria and they have already started camping outside the theatre to meet their favourite star at the premiere of "Don 2: The King is Back" in the Berlin Film Festival.

The film will have a Berlinale Special Gala screening at the magnificent Friedrichstadtpalast 1,600 seater theatre here tomorrow.

The 46-year-old star, who is recovering from fever, is expected to join director Farhan Akhtar, producer Ritesh Sidwani and co-star Priyanka Chopra later.

"Shah Rukh's fans have been camping in sleeping bags at the ticket office for two days before the counter opened, and tickets for Don 2 were sold out in one minute," a senior official in the Berlin film festival office said.

This is pretty heroic German 'fangiri' in a city that is already slathered in snow, with night temperature dipping to minus 12 degrees or lower.

Shah Rukh, described as an "uber-gangster" in this action film, set and co-produced in Berlin, already had "Don" screened in the Berlinale in 2007.

There is sizeable Indian contingent of 10 people and film projects selected in various sections of the Berlin Film Festival.

In addition to "Don 2", there is Rajan Khosa's "Gattu", about a boy wanting to escape working in his uncle's business to attend school, in the Generation section for children and young adults.

There is Mohan Kumar Valasala's "Panchabhuta" (The Five Elements), a 15 minute short in the Berlinale Shorts Competition. 

Valasala, from the Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute, reflects on the presence of the five elements in the daily lives of people living on the margins.

There are also two Indian projects in the Berlinale Co-production Market -- "Dabba/Lunchbox" to be directed by Ritesh Batra, and "Kutch" to be directed by veteran producer Bobby Bedi.

Iram Ghufran's film "There is Something in the Air", which explores the dreams, performances, insanity and spiritual possession of women at a Sufi shrine, is in the Forum Expanded section.

The Berlinale Talent Campus, which mentors talented filmmakers, includes screenwriter/director Chaitanya Tamhane, director of the superb short Six Strands, cinematographer Pooja Gupte (Pratyabartan), director/screenwriter Ritesh Batra (Cafe Regular, Cairo) and distributor/producer Yogesh Karikurve.

The National Film Development Corporation of India (NFDC) will organise an India Pavilion here.

Films from the Indian subcontinent include Deepak Rauniyar's "Highway" (Nepal, Panorama), and Suba Sivakumaran's daring "Enakkum Oru Per" (I Too Have a Name, US/Sri Lanka, Berlinale Shorts Competition).