Germans who spend time in India are surprisingly often approached on their view on ‘the Mercedes’ – even when the traveller is quite ignorant about cars and often not as well informed about the issue as the interlocutor from the other end of the world. As much as this may please the car company in Sindelfingen – the consequences and implications of this associative link are too labyrinthine and complex to be dealt with simply looking at the number of cars sold in the respective countries. This is precisely the subject of the documentary ”Star Biz”.
Using Mercedes as a ‘symbol’, the documentary examines the process of cultural appropriation of Western consumer and luxury goods in India. It aims to be a critical, amusing and insightful case study of a car as typical consumer good in the age of globalisation. Through buying a Mercedes, the customer in India also purchases a certain lifestyle – a lifestyle differing hugely between India and Germany, however. Accordingly, the company takes great care to nurture this image, including attempts to brief Bollywood producers on appropriate product placement. The film follows Bombay based script-writer Urmi Juvekar, struggling to find story-lines about “the car with a star” — at the same time as diplomatic negotiations between the DC management and a tycoon of the Hindi Cinema aim to combine “star-values” from very different planets.
DE 2005, Video, 85 min