German film about adoption in Kolkata | Asia| An in-depth look at news from across the continent | DW | 07.09.2010
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German film about adoption in Kolkata

A new film about adoption has been made by a group of students from the Hamburg Media School. The short film "Kalkutta" is part fiction, part documentary.

The model home used for the film shoot in Kolkata from where the couple gets a child

The model home used for the film shoot in Kolkata from where the couple gets a child

Many couples, who cannot have children, adopt. According to UNICEF statistics, 9 percent of the world’s orphans live in India. It has become common for foreign couples to travel to India to adopt, however they often run into difficulties. The legal formalities are often exhausting. And some orphanages try to dupe foreign couple with promises of children and then disappear with the money handed over.

The German-made docu-fiction film "Kalkutta" examines some of the problems couples face. Julia Richter, a popular actress on German televisions, plays a mother who is looking for a child in India to adopt.

Finding parents for children instead of children for parents

Wotan Moehrung, Julia Richter and an Indian actress in the movie

Wotan Moehrung, Julia Richter and an Indian actress in the movie

"I am a real mother and so I try to compare the situation, it’s like a real birth. I come to India to get a child", Richter describes her role. "My husband finds out that this child has parents, who are alive and are looking for him. He wants to bring back the little boy and I am against it, because I feel like a mother and I want to keep him."

Stephan Gieren, who produced the movie, says that the film is about the various aspects of adoption. "Adoption is not only a way to help. Adoption always involves problems for the child when it grows up, for making it integrate into the new society", he explains. "Adoption should be finding parents for children and not about finding children for parents."

Cast of Kalkutta

Cast of "Kalkutta"

Indian children becoming German

Although there have been cases in the past where people who have adopted children have turned out to be unfit, Gieren thinks that this is not usually the case in Germany. He personally believes 99 percent of people who travel to India to adopt an orphan really care for the children. "In Germany we have a very strict system of checking the social, financial and psychological background of those people who are willing to adopt", he explains.

Gieren thinks that it is easy for adopted children to adapt once they arrive in Germany. Due to German law the child will become a German citizen. The child will change the surname, get a German passport. "Even in Germany he will no longer be considered an Indian any more", Gieren smiles, "even though the color of the skin will always be different."

The film Kalkutta is mostly in German although there are some English dialogues when the German actors are talking with Indian actors. The filmmakers are planning to screen the movie in Germany first and then bring it to the Kolkata film festival.

Author: Debarati Mukherjee (Kolkata)
Editor: Anne Thomas

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