He says that he accepted the invitation to become member of the jury of Berlin International Film Festival, as he could not refuse the offer for the fourth time. Khan and his wife Kiran Rao are taking off to the German capital on February eight.
The festival organisers have been approaching the actor-filmmaker to be part of the jury since 2008, but he kept declining as he was occupied with his films. So, when they renewed the offer for the fourth time, he couldn't refuse, sources close to the actor said.
Enthusiastic to watch all the new films at the festival next month, Khan says, "I look forward to experiencing what the different voices in world cinema have to say. And not to forget, I am also equally excited about exchanging ideas and view points with the other highly respected members of the jury."
The seven-member jury, headed by Italian-American actor Isabella Rossellini includes some big names like Australian film producer Jan Chapman, German actor Nina Hoss, Canadian filmmaker Guy Maddin, British costume designer Sandy Powell and Iranian director Jafar Panahi. The festival, which commences on February 10, will feature 22 films in its main programme, 16 of which will vie in the competitive section.
When Khan was first approached to be a member on the jury three years ago, he couldn't take it up as he was going to start shooting for A Murugadoss's Ghajini. The following year, he had to decline the invitation as he had committed dates for Rajkumar Hirani's 3 Idiots. Last year's Berlin Film Festival was very important to him as his production, Peepli Live, helmed by Anusha Rizvi, was also being screened there. Unfortunately, he couldn't make it as his father, veteran filmmaker Tahir Hussain, passed away on February 2, 2010.
Reportedly, the festival director Dieter Kosslick loved Peepli Live so much that he and Dorothee Wenner, Berlinale's special representative for Indian cinema, decided that they'd ensure Khan agrees to be part of the jury this year.
Recalling Kosslick's persistent invitations, Khan says, "I was of course very happy to be invited, but I had to decline as I was busy. So he immediately inquired, 'Ok, how about 2011 ?' It is a pleasure, in fact an honour, to be invited to be part of the jury of one of the most respected festivals in the world."
Khan's home production Dhobi Ghat released this month and the next Delhi Belly is slated to hit screens later this year. His untitled venture directed by Reema Kagti starring him with Kareena and Rani Mukherjee will go on floors in March.