The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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German cine feat set to desi beat
- Documentary duo inspired by bindi and Bollywood, busy teaching, shooting in town

For eight long hours, they grooved in right earnest as Bobby Deol, Akshay Kumar and Bipasha Basu settled scores in the Abbas-Mastan flick Ajnabee. For Anja Schuetze and Hannes Gieseler, their brief brush with Bollywood was memorable. “In a Swiss café, we nodded our heads in tandem to Hindi dialogues and danced for a little over eight hours. Finally, what you got to see was probably a five-minute affair and just a glimpse of us,” laughs the pair. But the die-hard Hrithik Roshan fans saw enough to be convinced that “the Bengali girl (Bipasha) is a promising actress and will go a long way”.

The two documentary film-makers in their 20s are currently in Calcutta to shoot Images of Feminity, a play to be staged at Max Mueller Bhavan on November 1. The 28-minute short will also portray “the adaptability of Germans to Indian conditions”, touching themes like conflicts, congeniality and compatibility. “India is where we base our films as it’s here that we find cinematic appreciation,” they say.

Anja, who hails from Halle near Dresdan, met Hannes, from Dessau, during media workshops. Their common love for short films saw them debuting with a 72-minute documentary titled Points of Few. “The theme is inspired by the Indian bindi which is the centre of attraction for an Indian woman. Based on this theme, we focused on five characters who narrate their fascination for India,” recounts Anja. Braving security risks, the duo even trudged up to Kashmir to shoot some parts. Points of Few was screened in the Cinema of Tourism Film Festival, Germany, and won rave reviews.

The two, who raise funds for film production by teaching film-making and video-designing half the year, are now conducting workshops at the Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute (SRFTI). “We showed 10 students the current trends in Europe,” says Hannes.

A feature film could be next on their agenda, funds permitting. “Our shorts cost us around 300 Euro (around Rs 15,000) but a feature film would cost us nearly 50 times more. Unlike the NFDC here, we have no such organisation in Germany that can help us put our films together.” So, it’s Anja’s cinema equipment that her mother gifted her or Hannes’ personal electronic gadgets that have helped them pursue their docu-dream.

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