International Media Studies Vol 3
Published by International Institute for Journalism / GIZ & Deutsche Welle
Youth in Berlin – The kids are alright! The man who makes the balls go mad Page 2
Female, 21, Mormon, seeks devoted mate Page 2
Chasing dreams, landing careers Page 3
Berlin goes Bollywood Page 4
A young debate: Who owns the city?
scene of alternative tion – taken up especially by youth charm at Görlitzer Park – is polarising the German capital, in Kreuzberg, Berlin: A as ever-increasing housing costs young woman rests on a couch and rent are pushing out the origioutside an old building. Howevnal tenants, especially in eastern er, the idyll is questionable: Not Berlin regions. Areas such as the only was this building squatted fashionable Prenzlauer Berg for a long time before being have already experienced turned into “Edelweiss,” a several waves of gentrificaclub-lounge, but also the tion: Yuppies took over very neighbors of “Görhousing from alternali” park on the Spree tive young parents, River – many of them who in turn drove Turkish immigrants out the original – protested against eastern German the influx of inhabitants a loud mudecade ago. sic and even “Wir bleiben drug dealers alle hier” (we Attention, eviction! A mock sign by in their midst. will all stay), creative urban activists Who owns the insists an accity, and who is entitled to dwell tivist’s blog against urban expulwhere? Two decades after reunision. In June 2011, an entire city fication, the debate about genevent with 40 workshops is to be trification is probably the single dedicated to the issue. Slogans and most important topic in Berlin, a campaigns like the warning sign city of 3.4 million, where almost above can be seen all over the city: a fifth of the population is under Attention, eviction! The debate 25. This urban issue of gentrificaand protest are here to stay.
In or out in the urban jungle of Berlin? The right to living space has created huge conflicts and discussion
M ayday, M ay D ay!
Every year, the same dilemma: It‘s May 1 in Berlin, and everyone’s invited By Sonya Angelica Diehn and Myles Tweedie
Berlin for nearly the past quarter neighborhood rebellion as a symof a century. bol of resistance. Berlin politicians Partying, rioting and political and residents initiated the Kreuzhe first thing that hits you expression: what can we make of berg MyFest in 2003 to defuse the is the beat. This rhythm, it when these volatile ingredients riots – the event highlights live mupounding like a heart, that mix? “One thing is obvious,” says sic and food, along with political inenvelops your body and makes Simon Teune, a doctoral candiformation. (See info box.) you want to move along. There’s date at the Social Science Research “The street is used as a stage,” something very powerful about Center in Berlin: “The way people says Teune. To him, all of May Day dancing and moving as a crowd; get politically active is changing.“ in Kreuzberg becomes a ritual, the electronic music builds to a But to him, the annual May 1 phewhere people can publicly display crescendo, there’s this tiny pause, nomenon doesn’t reflect then when the beat hits again, mere disruption. Contrayou’re jumping and ry to the widepumping along with spread view “The way everyone. This aspect that youth are young people i n c r e a s i n g l y of music and dancing is a central part of the get politically politically apaMyFest, which draws thetic, Teune active is thousands of people sees youth as – mostly youth – to preferring to changing.“ Berlin on the 1 of get involved May every year. with specific Roughly one city block away, campaigns rather than another gathering is taking place. organisations. Young The thousands of people here people gather at protests – also mostly youth – march toto build shared experigether through the streets, carences, he says. rying banners and calling out The 1 of May, also chants: against repression, against known as May Day or exploitation, and fundamentally, International Workers’ against authority. They’re callDay, traditionally is a ing for change. You can feel paspublic holiday in many sion and conviction in the crowd. countries. But in the There’s also an undercurrent of Berlin borough of Kreuzprovocation and aggression. This berg, with its history of latter element – stemming not just alternative communities, from political factions – becomes May 1 has developed stronger over the course of the into its own happening. march. It climaxes in battles with Rioting there became police and the smashing of glass, an annual tradition after which have become synonymous 1987 when autonomist When anger turns to violence: What’s the with protests on the 1 of May in movements adopted a future of the May Day demonstrations?
photo: Myles tweedie
their identity and play out their roles in society – some festive, some provocative. “This is very relevant for the development of a political human being,” Teune adds. “The 1 of May is the battle day. I don’t think there’s any other day where so many demonstrations take place, where people take to the streets for their ideals,” says “Kai-Uwe,” a 27-year-old Berlin activist who took part in the demonstration. Kai-Uwe admits that riots often emerge from the protests. But this gets distorted, he claims. “To the media, we’re just the ones who want to riot. But we’re not here for fun – we really want to change things,” Kai-Uwe insists. In contrast, Daniel, a 23-yearold Londoner who happened to be in Berlin visiting friends over the weekend, came out more or less as a tourist looking for action, or “anything interesting happening.” He’s not politically active, he says, and didn’t even see the demonstration. But he would definitely come back, “for the people and the music.” Zacharias, who is 21 and from Berlin, probably represents the majority of those at the events. He supports political campaigns, but came there more for party than politics. He was dancing rather than demonstrating. How was it? “It was great.” More info on history: www.erstermai.dgb.de/article/ articleview/4443/2/352
■ May 1 in the United States of America was long known as “moving day,” when employment contracts were signed, renegotiated or cancelled. ■ Labour unions in the USA organized mass strikes on May 1 in the late 1800s, calling for an eight-hour working day. ■ Many countries around the world adopted May 1 as a public holiday to honor workers’ rights. May Day in Kreuzberg, Berlin ■ 1987: Unemployment and political discontent contributed to conflict with authorities. Radical leftists and police clashed; heavy rioting took place. This became an annual occurrence. ■ 2003: Politicians and local residents searching for a way to reduce tensions and rioting initiated the “MyFest.” The annual street fair features live music, food and political stands, and emphasises a peaceful atmosphere. ■ 2011: Up to 20,000 people visited more than 250 stands, with the Kreuzberg borough budgeting 150,000 euros for the event. Anti-fascist and autonomous groups held a “revolutionary demonstration” in the evening. Police say 9,000 people took part; organizers put the figure at 13,000. Around 6,000 police officers were deployed for the event.
Dossier: Youth in Berlin – The kids are alright!
Abddi, 28, juggler and successful migrant in Berlin By Gemechu Bekele
age of 16. Unlike during his early experiences at school with the accrobatics, Abddi taught himself to juggle. When his trainer saw Abddi handling the balls, so masterfully and expertly making them dance, he did not think twice to take him into the juggling team. Since then,
e is a young, brownskinned man of average height, with a well-built body and welcoming smile. He is a master of juggling, and his juggling balls are his obedient friends. When his hands and the juggling balls meet, they create such a magical motion that his spectators cannot help but to stand up in amazement and applaud unceasingly until he disappears behind the curtain. Abdulrazak Rashid Adam, 28, is known to many by the name Abddi. He was born in Ethiopia, but has now lived in a lively downtown suburb of the western part of Berlin for eight years. Abddi is a professional juggler and has already started down the path to success and fame. He knows how to make “the balls dance” perfectly. As a child, juggling was not his favorite sport. Twenty years ago in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Abddi started attending a school where he learned acrobatics, but he only really started to juggle “for fun” at the
E thi opIans in germany Currently there are more than 27 000 Ethiopians living in Germany. Among them 11 000 have Ethiopian citizenship and the rest have become German citizens. There are 709 registered Ethiopian citizens in Berlin of which 371 are men and 338 female. Most of them have permanent residency permits and some of them are still living with temporary residency permits. This number does not include Ethiopians who have changed their citizenship. You want to see Abddi juggling? www.myspace.com/252221896 www.youtube.com/user/sabaprom
Maidens on a mission
By Theresa Locker and Anna Appelrath
“ N ot a sect ” Carsten Rein, representative of the Berlin Senate for questions on religious communities, has this to say on the Mormons: “We consider them as a protected religious community and not as a sect, so we have no right to investigate in depth the Mormon’s practice. We’ve had personal contact to the members though and feel there are no psychological pressure mechanisms like in the numerous cases we’ve had with Jehova’s Witnesses, for example. Some worried Berlin parents have called us when their kids are abroad and find out their host parents are Mormons. But overall, we can tell them they’re usually not dangerous.”
Two Mormon girls give their youth away to sell chastity in Berlin tion from parents. “When I was 13, I wondered if my parents told me the truth. But the more I read in the Book of Mormon, the more I believe. It gives me power every day.” A godly power reserve comes in handy for the girls, who talk to roughly 40 people per day. Not everyone likes to discuss religious matters with the ever-smiling missionaries, but their rejection, they claim, “only makes us stronger.”
Blindfolded in Berlin PHoto: theresa locker
ven though religious conviction among youth is ever-declining, some still lead and promote an ultraconservative lifestyle. Muslims, the usual suspects? Think again. They’re young and good-looking, single, and have just taken a year and a half off to live in Germany’s youth culture mecca Berlin. But they’re not here for the fabled nightlife – in fact, they won’t see a single historical sight or even have a coffee with friends. Piroska Szvoboda from Switzerland and Lisa Jensen from Utah are on a mission. They swapped their first names to the title “Sister” and now roam the streets every day, trying to talk people into joining the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints, an ultra-conservative religious community, commonly known as Mormons. “We never drink alcohol; no coffee, no cigarettes and of course use no other drugs,” says 21-yearold Piroska, “but during mission,
Abddi has taken up juggling as a profession. Having moved to Berlin, Germany, 10 years ago, Abddi entered into a new atmosphere in which his talent was better able to flourish. He won two international juggling competitions, held in Leipzig, Germany, and Paris, France. Outside Germany, he performs mostly in the USA and France. He once juggled in the prestigious Kennedy Center in Washington. “I was privileged to have a chance to perform in the Kennedy Center,” says Abddi. “That is where even the most famous musicians and artists in the world have to wait for long time to get permission to perform,” Abddi reflects. This performance subsequently gave Abddi the opportunity to work as a model within the fashion industry in the USA and Germany. The secret of Abddi’s success is obvious: hard work and discipline. He spends 8 to 10 hours per day visualizing and practicing the talent of making the balls “go mad.” Abddi believes in the need for youth to be free from addiction if they are aiming for success. Success needs disci-
pline, and the battle to remain free from addiction is its part and parcel. “I don’t smoke, I don’t drink. Neither do I use drugs,” said Abddi. For him, Berlin, apart from serving as the place where his talent breathes freely, is also a place where he practices reciprocity. He proudly says, “I love Berlin” because he learns a lot from the youth with whom he practices the beloved sport, and they also have something to learn from him. Furthermore, the cultural variety of the youth with whom he spends most of his time gives him a window into another world, with which he is still not well acquainted. A few years ago, when Abddi went to perform in many different States within the USA, he remembers how he was asked to stay longer. But he refused. “I can’t stay here any longer. I want to go back to Berlin because I miss it.” By now, Berlin is where he feels at home. Abddi has already set out sailing the seas of success, yet he dreams about the best shores where he can anchor his ship, to wait for the next journey. He plans in the near future to become an art teacher at a private college. In the long term, he wants to open his own private school in
No spare time : “Sisters” Lisa and Piroska keep smiling in the name of Jesus
we have even stricter rules in orthose calls can get quite emotional, der to concentrate on our task.” especially having an 8-year old sisThe Hungarian-born student, who ter who doesn’t really get what I’m has been living with her Utah coldoing,” says Piroska. She readily acleague in a shared flat rented by cepts the dress code, advising her to the church for three months now, wear a wide calf-length skirt: “All has to get up every day at 6:30 for these restrictions prevent me from aerobics in her room, getting distracted.” then starts preparing for The Utah-based Mor her day of canvassing in “Restrictions mons are often viewed the name of the Lord by prevent us as harmless freaks outreading scriptures. side mainstream relifrom Her daily routine gion, but are a rapidly couldn’t be more difdistraction” growing community in ferent from those of her spite of all accusations of heathen peers in Berlin. being backward. While While other girls prepare to look the clean-shaven young men in their hottest for a night out on the black suits have to serve for two weekend, Piroska prepares herself years, the mission is optional for in chastity for the “Eternal Maryoung ladies. To decide where in riage” with a fellow Mormon and the world it takes them, however, is to stay at home for the kids, as her not. “One of our apostles deterchurch encourages her to do. mined Germany for me through Her mobile rings - a danceable divine inspiration after seeing my house tune. She apologizes quickly. picture,” says Piroska. During her mission’s time, she is not In contrast to the life most allowed to listen to pop music, read European teens nowadays expenon-religious books or even call her rience, the church’s concept of family more than twice a year. “And youth does not include emancipa-
“Young people do a lot of things because they lack self-confidence,” Lisa Jensen is convinced. To avoid being “tempted to sin,” Mormon youth hold several meetings a week which mix studying religious messages and videos from the governing body of the church with leisure activities, and many of them found their partners there. No wonder ex-members call the meetings “marriage markets”. Being committed to a rigid fulltime schedule studying language, church speeches and scriptures, talking people up and only having half a day off each week for doing laundry and running errands, the two devotees basically are running blind through Berlin. The more they are compelled to keep among themselves, the less they see and learn from the country and culture they’ve been thrown into. So do they really think they are happier than other young people? As always, during our encounter in the no-frills building of the Centre for Young Adults in the posh western part of the city, their answer comes promptly, polite and seems well-trained. “Joining the one true church is the best way to gain confidence – but some people can lead a happy life without being a member of our or any church,” says Piroska.”I guess.”
Foto: WS PHOTOS
The man who commands the balls
Abdulrazak Rashid Adam
Berlin where he can teach children and youth the art he loves and respects most of all. “I want to work with kids to guide them through what I have already experienced, because I like what I have gone through”, Abddi concludes.
M ore on M orm on s ■ There are 13 million members worldwide – almost as many as Jewish people. ■ Mormonism is a young religion, founded in the USA around 1830 by Joseph Smith, a farmer’s son. With the help of the “prophet’s glasses”, he claimed to have translated God-given golden tablets after having had a vision. The book of Mormon, words of the current president and the bible form the scriptural basis. ■ Polygamy is today practised only within some minorities. ■ Main idea: Human beings have the possibility to develop strongly and become themselves like God after death. ■ The religious center is Salt Lake City in the US state of Utah. Mormonism is the fastest growing religion in the USA. ■ Mormons in Germany:
About 38,000 (only 0,04 percent of the whole population), in Berlin: 2,518 ■ Info site by an ex-member: www.mormonismus-online.de
L o st in Faith Graph: Theresa Locker, Source: Destatis
Religion in Berlin: Surprisingly, more than 60 percent of all Berliners have no registered religious affiliation – the city has therefore been described as the “atheist capital of Germany”.
Dossier: Youth in Berlin - The Kids are alright!
3 Tips for start-ups ■ Be your own boss In 2009, about 11 per cent of all economically active people in Germany (38.7 million) were self-employed, in Berlin even 16 per cent. ■ Start-up initiatives They help people on their way to found a business. They also offer start-up trainings with important information about choosing the right legal status, tax, insurance and writing a business plan. Such a plan is usually required for external funding. Information, seminars and advice: www.ihk-berlin.de/starthilfe
Cuisine lovers’ paradise: Ellen Teschendorf in her kitchen shop.
Puppets and spoons Where jobs are rare, start-ups are the rave: 4 young women in Berlin turn their passion into business
erlin attracts countless young entrepreneurs trying to edge a living out of the city. These four women succeeded not only financially, but also by putting their heart into their ventures. Wooden spoons in all forms and sizes, special cutting boards to chop garlic and other paraphernalia on colourful shelves. No plain white walls and ugly manufacturer wrappings. That is Ellen Teschendorf’s shop “Küchenliebe” in Friedrichshain, a lively urban quarter in Berlin, and that is also her idea of a business. “After one year of Küchenliebe I realise now that it was the right thing to do in my life,” says the young woman. On average she dedicates 50 to 60 hours a week to her work. “I would love to spend more time selling the products in the shop than on sitting behind the desk and doing administration,” says Ellen. The 37-year-old shopowner is a self-made woman. Although she didn’t have a lot of business knowledge, she launched an online store, founded the store “Schwesterherz” which offers knick-knacks, and in 2010 opened up Küchenliebe providing first-class and partly nonstandard kitchen accessories. In the beginning she financed her project by means of a special loan for persons setting up their own businesses. Since Ellen was born in Berlin it was out of the question to choose another location for her business. By now, she has six employees, three of them working in the Küchenliebe store. A third
store is in the planning stage. El- to 60 hours per week. “The whole len’s advice to fellow start-ups: business is passion,” says the “Don’t start small, but have the 31-year-old. She studied literature, history and theatre science in Berheart to do something big.” “With Päckchen you get very lin and did some advanced training close to people,” enthuses Mela- in pedagogy and communication nie Streibelt about her work with theory to build up her knowledge a yellow hand-puppet named for the start-up. Berlin was her first choice because she Päckchen (German wants to make use of for parcel). It has a “Start big, her local network. red bib and it listens not small” The puppet Päckto sorrows, makes chen was born out of one laugh and mediEllen Teschendorf a novel she wrote ates conflicts. It apherself. Seeing her pears as a friend, babysitter or story-teller in schools, performance, one wonders about hospitals and businesses, where the extraordinary language of the Melanie stages her puppet per- puppet, which is a mixture of French, Dutch, Yiddish and local formances. She clearly loves her doll, German accents. The young wombut also makes a living out of it. an dreams of her own TV show. Founded with a grant by the state But first in line is a new body for in 2010, the business demands 30 the puppet made by an artist.
By Christine Rohrer and Volha Danishevich
Urban gardeners: Natalie Kirchbaumer and Wanda Ganders.
A farm in Berlin-Rudow, near the airport Schönefeld, horses on green land. Endless beds of violets, cabbage grown in neat rows, carrots, potatoes, tomatoes ready for consumption. What looks like an ordinary family garden is in fact a new business model: in 2010 Natalie Kirchbaumer and Wanda Ganders have started “Meine Ernte” in six cities all over Germany. One year later, they are already managing branches in 15 metropolises. “We focus on big cities as Berlin where people have usually only a balcony and no yard. We want them to leave the hectic city and enjoy nature for a while,” says Natalie. For 179 Euros, everybody can rent a small garden with 20 different vegetables and flowers already planted for them. One should spend at least two hours per week caring for the future crops. “We offer our gardeners all-around service so they will find gardening tools, water and professional support in the field,” says the enterpreneur. At the age of 28, she and Wanda put their savings into city farming, additionally receiving a startup grant from the state. At the moment there are 850 city gardeners in the whole of Germany, around 200 of them in Berlin. This season, most of the gardens are fully booked. Natalie and Wanda get many calls from people who ask them when the project is finally going to be in their city, too. “All you have to bring are your gumboots,” Natalie says – and that is exactly what people like about her garden venture. www.kuechenliebe.de www.kleines-paeckchen.de www.meine-ernte.de
More success stories Young start-ups based in Berlin come in all shapes – here a few examples: ■ Tape.tv The idea: personalized internet music television The creator: Conrad Fritzsch, self-employed since the age of 23 Successful? 30 employees, by 2014 planning to increase to 100 staffmembers PHoto: private
Always on the move: Melanie Streibelt and her doll “Päckchen”.
■ Financial help Apply for the state-run grant “Gründungszuschuss” of the German Employment Agency, which runs up to 24,000 Euro. This fund has recently come under debate but is still active. There are 12 steps for getting financial support: www.gruendungszuschuss.de
www.tape.tv ■ Urban Camping The idea: camping in the middle of the city for 11 Euro per day The creator: four young Berliners-by-choice in 2006 transformed an abandoned swimming pool into the first urban campground of Berlin Successful? Several thousands of guests from more than 40 countries so far www.tentstation.de ■ MyParfüm The idea: individually created perfume through the internet The creator: Matti and Yannis Niebelschütz, Patrick Wilhelm Successful? 12 employees, 40,000 clients www.myparfuem.com ■ DeinDesign The idea: unique product design for phones, laptops and other electronic devices The creator: Victoria Chirita, self-employed since the age of 23 Successful? eBusiness model of the year 2010 (Print & Media Awards, Germany) www.designskins.com
PHoto: Christine Rohrer
PHoto: Volha Danishevich
■ Planning ahead Besides a persuasive business idea, accurate planning is also needed, beginning with the name and registration of the company, up to marketing and distribution. Useful addresses, dates and general support: www.gruenden-in-berlin.de
Dossier: Youth in Berlin – The kids are alright!
Bollywood beats Berlin
Indian h ot sp ot s Indian food in Berlin:
Indian music, food and parties are in vogue these days – youth like it because it‘s exotic
■ Meena Kumari, Lychener Straße 9
- quality Indian food ■ Agni, Warschauer Straße 59
Crowd puller No 1: Bollywood mega star Shahrukh Khan with his co-star Kajol on the red carpet of Berlinale 2010.
ollywood film star Shahrukh Khan has more fans in Berlin than in any other European city. Young Berliners are in love with Bollywood films. There are more than 20 Bollywood chat groups, many discos and a growing number of Indian restaurants in the capital, report Qurratulain Zaman & Atif Tauqeer. It’s a bright and sunny day in May. Cozy Indian restaurant Meena Kumari on Lychener Street is filled with dozens of Germans. You can hear the voice of Indian singer Lata in the background. It
is a weekday and the manager of the restaurant Rashid Javed 29 is completely busy serving food. “You won’t find a table without a reservation on the weekend here,” says friendly Rashid. There is a big black and white wall-size portrait of the Bollywood actress of yesteryear, Meena Kumari, on the front wall. The restaurant in the capital is a tribute to her, Rashid informs us. The restaurant also has a Bollywood dance club. Walk along Oranian Street in Kreuzberg and you can find five Indian restaurants in a row attracting the Berliners with lunch packages. Amrit is one of
the famous Indian restaurants screen idol. in Kreuzberg. The open court“Movie fans were out in hordes yard with statues of the Buddhas, this weekend at the Berlin InKrishna and Ganesh add beauty to ternational Film Festival, 2008 the place. The ambiance and auto greet two of the film world’s thentic Indian food seems to be in hottest actors: Penelope Cruz and vogue among Berliners. Even at Shahrukh Khan” reportred the midnight, this place is almost full German magazine Spiegel. of people. Amrit has five restauOn 2nd Nov 2010, Shahrukh rants in Berlin. (See side box) Khan celebrated his 45th birthIn this city of around 3.4 milday in Berlin. His fans traveled lion people, there are more than hundreds of kilometers and gath300 Indian resered outside the taurants and caNovotel hotel in 20 chat rooms fes. Many Indolothe city center to gists believe that about Bollywood greet him. Khan this is the effect of stayed in Berin German; 300 Bollywood films, lin for almost 2 which increased Indian restaurants months for the demand for Inshooting of his only in Berlin dian food. film Don 2. He It all started got the attention in 2004, when the German priof the German press which was vate TV channel RTL II for the also amazed to see Khan’s growfirst time showed the Bollywood ing fan club in Germany. movie Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham In 2010, SRK’s film “My name (in guten wie in schweren Tagen) is Khan,” or “MNIK” premiered at in a prime time slot. the Berlin film festival. The tickChris Schock is in the restauets were sold out on the Internet rant business. He lived for nine within 10 seconds and were later years in India, and is now back in sold on eBay for 1,000 euros each. Berlin to work at an Indian res“Bollywood is no more a niche taurant, Amrit. “This mushroomchoice, it is becoming mainstream ing of Indian cafes and restaurants and MNIK marks the beginning took place in the last couple of of the conquest of world popular years. I remember it was not like cinema by Bollywood” says Hanthis 10 years ago. Watching Bolns-Georg Rodek, the film editor at lywood films on your home TV Die Welt, a German daily. screen has changed many things Now Bollywood films are regand trends in the city. Demand ularly shown in the two main cinof Indian food and Indian culture emas in Berlin, Cinemax and UCI. has increased.” Bollywood films are available in Young and energetic Chris video stores, especially in the area with a golden French beard has of Kreuzberg and Neukölln. strong ties in India. His circle of friends includes many Bollywood stars and celeberties. He opened five restaurants with his friend and Bollywood actor Dino Morea in different cities throughout India, including Mumbai and Bengalore. Chris says, “Indian actor Shahrukh Shopping Khan knows this trend well, and delight in that’s why he makes sure to be Germany: in Berlin with his fans and create An Indian hype.” grocery Berliners go mad for SRK: Bollystore wood star Shahrukh Khan, who is also sells known as SRK among his fans, is Bollywood a screen idol for many young Gerinspired man girls. (See box) His die-hard costumes fans travel hundreds of kilomand jewellery. eters just to see a glimpse of their
“Not so intellectual” A young German woman about her love for India kitsch
Poster girl: German-born Fritzi worked as model in an Indian advertisement. It is common in India to cast Europeans in promotional campaigns.
hat does a Humbolt University PhD student have to do with India? If you want to know, meet Fritzi Titzmann, 28, from Berlin. ”I saw my first Bollywood film, when I was 19. My father bought a VHS of “Lagaan.” That’s how it started and then never stopped. It’s fun to watch films with lots of color, dance and music. For me, it is like a party to watch a movie mainly because it’s not intellectual. It’s more enjoyable, and you can eat and watch a film at the same time. It’s relaxing, and you know what’s going to happen, you are not nervous. I like these films mainly
because of the language. I can improve my Hindi. I always try to find something special. I am very interested in dance and some of the Bollywood music is really cool. It is energetic and pure fun. I joined Bollywood dance classes in Berlin in my mid-twenties. It is entertaining form of sport for me. Bollywood dance is a mix of aerobics, belly dancing and few steps of Kathak. My trainer was German. She learned it from an Indian. There were 12 girls in our group. Surprisingly, I was the youngest. Others were mainly housewives and from more simple backgrounds – not South Asian experts or academics.
- nice Indian ambiance ■ Bombay, Friedrichstraße 106
- hot and spicy Video links: ■ Superstar Khan in Germany:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=y2 E64ULuOhA&feature=related ■ Khan’s fans recieving him at the
Berlinale: www.youtube.com/watch?v= LPic6-xXnQ4&feature=fvsr ■ Khan’s movie trailer:
India sells in the grocery stores: Indian student Nirmalya Chaudhary (29) lives in Berlin and has witnessed the craze for the Bollywood films. He looks at the commercial aspect of Bollywood. “Bollywood doesn’t represent India. It is disturbing for me at times, when I see Germans thinking India is what they see in these films – homogenous, dancing and singing around the trees.” He mentions that Indian restaurants and products are not always authentic, and many times the owners are from Sri lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. “India sells, that is why, they all use the name”. This Bollywood craze among youngsters is growing slowly but continuously. Young Berliners dance to the tunes of Bollywood and this surprises Indians who wonder, what makes Bollywood popular among young Germans.
PHoto: Spree pix Berlin
- cheap and authentic ■ Amrit, Oranienstraße 45
The dance group met regularly ,watching movies together and cooked Indian food. All of us dressed up in Indian clothes and wore Indian jewellery. We bought sarees and Indian jewellery on eBay and spent 100-150 euros somtimes to buy Indian things. They improved their English to understand subtitles.They would probably never travel to India. Bollywood is exotic for them, which they can bring home. I studied Hindi in the University for three years and now I am doing my PhD, in Indian matrimonial websites at the South Asia department of the Humbolt University. Since 2002, I have been traveling regularly to India and over the course of time, India has become part of my identity and I love this.”
Credits / Impressum: Produced by International Media Studies in collaboration with IIJ /GIZ and Deutsche Welle. Editorial team: Anna Appelrath, Volha Danishevich, Sonya Angelica Diehn, Atif Tauqeer, Gemechu Bekele, Theresa Locker, Christine Rohrer, Myles Tweedie, Qurratulain Zaman. Trainers: Andrea Tapper, Olaf Herling. Berlin, May 2011