Bilateral cultural relations
Florian Schiertz, Tabla expert during a performance in Germany
(© Christel Rossner, Singen, courtesy: Florian Schiertz)
Cultural relations are perceived by the German government as one of the crucial pillars of foreign policy, alongside political and economic relations. Indo-German cooperation in the field of culture and the arts is as vigorous and multi-faceted as ever, be it in films, theatre, dance, the visual arts, literature and oral narrative traditions, or the printing and publishing industry.
In India, it is the Culture Department of the German Embassy and the six branches of the Goethe-Institut, named Max Mueller Bhawans after the famed German Indologist Max Mueller, that deal with bilateral cultural affairs – each complementing the other. The Culture Department is responsible for fundamental and policy matters of cultural affairs, whereas the Max Mueller Bhavans are involved in art practice, concentrating on executing cultural programmes and projects, mostly on a bilateral basis.
Enlarge image Shah Rukh Khan and Priyanka Chopra at a press conference during the shooting of Don 2 (© dpa) Today, bilateral relations between Germany and India are vibrant, being enhanced by people-to-people contacts, for example: German art galleries participate in art fairs in India; Indian contemporary artists are frequently shown in exhibitions in Germany, either in group or solo shows; the field of theatre and dance has seen a remarkable spurt in recent years with a number of joint programmes or performances inspired by each other's culture and visuality; and of course, cinema with Bollywood being a household name all over Germany.
Ever since German television started regularly screening Bollywood movies about 10 years ago, Hindi films have become quite popular with the German public, and German locations for Indian film makers, so much so that Shah Rukh Khan's "Don 2" is being shot in Berlin. Berlinale and Filmfest München regularly have India's greatest hits on their menu. German films, such as "Run, Lola, Run" and Oscar-winning "The Lives of Others" have been running in India with success and appreciation. This spurt on the cinematic scene might be, to some extent, due to the bilateral film agreement signed in 2007.
Indian art, ranging from miniatures, bronzes, sculptures, ancient terracottas, fragments of wall paintings, ancient textiles and objects of everyday art, is superbly presented in various museums all over Germany, mainly in the Museum of Asian Art, the Museum of Islamic Art, the Ethnographic Museum (all in Berlin), the Völkerkunde Museums in Hamburg, Bremen, Munich and Stuttgart, the Rautenstrauch-Joest Museum in Cologne, just to name a few.