Following in Fritz's footsteps
It was about 20 years back that German filmmaker Walter Steffen visited India and the seeds of making a film that connects India and Germany were planted.
“To be honest, I fell in love with India,” he says candidly. Many years later, he’s back in India with a film on German painter Fritz-Munich who travelled through India between 1932 and 1937 and became the only German court painter of the Maharajas. Walter talks to CS about the making of the film:
An extraordinary journey
After visiting India, I was looking for some stories where I could connect India and Germany. A few years back, I happened to meet and become friends with Fritz-Munich’s son Wolfdieter Fritz, who told me about his father and his stay in India. Then some five years back, he told me that Fritz documented all his travels with 16mm film shoots and photographs. I was really impressed and decided to put them together in a way that the public can also see and appreciate it. Fritz had not just documented the life of the Princely courts but also the life of the ordinary common man. The film tells the story of this adventurous man and follows his footsteps.
Inner voice calling
As a painter, Fritz was a craftsman who knew how to sell himself. He was a banker until the age of 28. In 1923, when there was hyper-inflation in Europe, he left a secure job to follow his inner voice and became an artist. I find that remarkable. Nowadays, very often in the rush of making money, people tend to forget their real ambitions. For me, that is a very relevant issue.
When I saw his shots, I realised what a great cameraman he was. The pictures he shot 80 years ago of India, show that he was a skilled photographer. We’re planning to hold an exhibition of his paintings, films and photographs sometime soon. It will be great if we can find some distributors for this film too.