A young Sufi musician dressed in the colourful Rajasthani style
stands at a corner of the Cinemaxx 4 film theatre in Berlin, singing
a majestic Rajasthani song. Cine-goers crowd around the 14-year-old
boy who shows none of the shyness and rectitude that one would
associate with a boy hailing from a little village called
Baiya in Jaisalmer district of Rajasthan. Child star Swaroop Khan
was one of the more colourful characters to grace the recently
concluded 56th Berlinale, star of the children’s film "Milk and
Opium", he has been winning accolades for his performance.
Swaroop, who comes from a family of traditional singers was
selected by a talent scout who was looking for a lead actor for the
Joel Palombo film "Milk and Opium". Swaroop, who has hardly seen the
inside of a school and has never acted before is getting used to his
new fame. In his Rajasthani Hindi he said about his experience of
shooting for the film "Bahut accha laga" (It felt very good).
"Milk and Opium" tells the story of a young Sufi musician who
leaves his remote desert village in Rajasthan in search of work.
During his journey, he comes across an India he never knew existed,
an urban India of malls and multinationals and he tries to adapt and
adjust to his new found environment.
Swaroop, who comes from the hot desert state of Rajasthan, also
managed in the time he spent in Berlin to adapt to the chilly winter
of the German capital. "Log bhi acchhe, thand bhi acchi, magar
Jaisalmer se bahut alag hai," (the people are nice, even the cold is
nice but it’s quite different from Jaisalmer), he exclaimed and
promptly broke into a song "Kaesariya balam aao padharo", setting
cameras of movie goers whirring. Swaroop may have been the most
extraordinary of the young Indian contingent that was here for the
Berlinale, but even the more "ordinary" among them have
extraordinary talent to boast of.
Talent Campus sees record Indian entries
Parvinder Kaur of Mumbai is an upcoming filmmaker whose film
"Will Think for Food" has won the first place in the Talent Campus
section of the Berlinale. The Talent Campus aims to bring budding
film makers of the world together and give them a platform to
showcase their films. This year’s Talent Campus saw
participation from 520 directors from countries as diverse as
Bangladesh, Indonesia, Sweden and Nigeria. All of them had to send
short films on the theme "Hunger, Food and Taste".
Out of these 520 entries, 32 films were selected for screening at
the festival. Parvinder’s film, a funny take on her attempt to make
a film on the theme of food for the Berlinale won over the Talent
Campus selectors. “I decided to make a short film on a director’s
attempt to make a film on the theme of food, how she struggled with
the idea on what food to make the film on. It was a funny take on
the competition subject and I guess the selectors liked it and
that is why it has been ranked first among all the Talent entries at
the Berlinale”, she said.
The Talent Campus saw entries on diverse subjects like the
preparation of snail’s dessert and liver dish to a tomato’s search
for true love. There were a record number of entries from
India this year, with more than 10 Indians getting selected to
attend the Talent Campus Workshop in Berlin.
Bangalore’s Smriti Mehra made an ode to the Johnson meat market
in the city which is facing an assault from the modern supermarkets
with their packaged meat. Mehra, whose short film entry saw her
attend the first international festival of her career was excited
about being in Berlin. “This festival is much bigger than I expected
it to be, it gives us exposure and a chance to meet film makers from
different countries”, she said.
Exposure to some the world's best film makers and camera men, who
descended on Berlin during the Berlinale to make it one of the best
film festivals in the world. The 56th Berlinale is over --
"Grbavica" by Sarajevo director Jasmila Zbanic took the Golden Bear
for best film at the conclusion of a glittery gala ceremony in
central Berlin. Now lies a one year wait for the next Berlinale and
for the next batch of upcoming actors and directors from