SRK's Temptations Reloaded concerts in Germany (and Spain) have been canceled just a few days before the first performance, apparently because the promoters failing to fulfill part of their contract. The Bachchan & Co. Unforgettable Tour dates in Germany suffered the same fate in August. Shady.
Babasko has a few choice words about the ways concert organizers and DVD producers/distributors are behaving badly with German-speaking Bollywood fans. Read her thoughts here. Even if I hadn't met some of them and seen for myself how happy their SRK and filmi love makes them, I'd feel really bad for them.
Here are a few of them in happier moments, at this year's German-language fan meetup in Munich. The girl in the red shirt and teeny black vest...does that outfit look familiar to you?
If so, it's because she and her friends came dressed in homage to SRK's then-upcoming song in Krazzy 4, complete with black fedoras. (Look at about 2:08 for a taste.) They love movies so much they came to an event in costume. Is alienating people like this really a smart business move? Based on what I understand about the relative scarcity of films that are dubbed into German (and German-speaking markets have always used dubbing, apparently, unlike the US, where foreign films are usually subtitled), it may not matter - that is, fans might still be willing to pay whatever it costs to access whatever movies and events they can. Taking people for whatever you can get - or, to be more polite about it, maximizing your profit from, and possibly adjusting for your advantage, the intersection of supply and demand - may be a legitimate business model in some situations, but in the economy of good will, it's a real stinker. It may be profitable financially, but it might prove to be thoughtless in the long run. If you piss off your consumer base, sooner or later, you're screwed. That's the question, I guess: will fans put up with this, or will they walk? It's probably more complicated than that, and there are lots of factors - such as, if all of us non-Hindi speakers did intensive language training to become suddenly fluent in Hindi, we could say a hearty "Auf Wiedersehen!" to the subtitle and dubbing questions! - and I don't envy having to weigh all the considerations whenever I buy a ticket or a DVD.
Update to post (November 3, 2008): On a related note, here's an article in Variety ("Berlin Lures Bollywood Industry," October 30, 2008) that discusses a German film organization's efforts to promote its services to Indian filmmakers. Clearly somebody thinks there is money to be made in the Bollywood/Germany mix.