Sunday, February 10, 2008

In Germany Sharukh Khan as popular as Pope

Berlin: As German fans drooled over Shah Rukh Khan, the German media shed its perceptions of "bullock cart India" and trained its attention on the Bollywood superstar when he landed here, with one journalist even saying "he is as popular as the Pope".

Shah Rukh was here for the screening of Om Shanti Om at the Berlin Film Festival. Some German TV channels suddenly turned their cameras from the Hollywood glitterati to Khan as excited fans let out loud shrieks to greet him at the Berlinale on Friday night.

Some channels narrated details of Khan's personal life, his wife Gauri and their two children.

The German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, which was highly critical about India and Indians until the mid-1990s, when the world began to notice India's economic and technological prowess, said that many people from all over Europe had descended on Berlin to see their favorite star. "He is as popular as the Pope, but he (Khan) has more sex appeal," wrote Ekkehard Knoerer in the Berlin tabloid Die Tageszeitung, while trying to capture the mood at the Berlinale.

Many Germany-based Indians and their German friends agree that two factors have gradually changed perceptions about "bullock cart India", as it was contemptuously referred to in the past by the German media which often resorted to clich├ęs of beggars with maimed bodies on the streets, the sacred cows, and the catastrophes.

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