Bollywood at IFFM is dance, glitter, style and a showcase of serious cinema

Pic 6 - flag hoistign with rishi


By Manju Mittal

Leena Yadav won Best Director for her film ‘Parched’, Sonam Kapoor Best Actress for ‘Neerja’ and Nawazuddin Siddiqui Best Actor award for his role in ‘Raman Raghav’ and Fawad Khan won ‘Diversity Award’ at IFFM 2016

IFFM, is an 11-day festival, established in 2012, Indian Film Festival of Melbourne is an initiative of the Victorian Government and Mind Blowing Films.

Pic 1 nadeep suri

The fifth Indian film festival of Melbourne began unfolding with the lighting of the traditional lamp, kicked off in glittery style with a parade of stars along its red carpet to the theatre where the festival opened with opening night film ”˜Parched’ directed by Leena Yadav. The inaugural film was well appreciated on the first day of festival. Festival focused on this year’s theme of ”˜Women Empowerment’ and the festival presented new and classic films from India and the subcontinent, with a special selection of films, panels and roundtable discussion based around the theme.

Director of Mind Blowing films, Mitu Bhowmick  said “This year’s festival presents a world class program overflowing with gala events, master classes with Indian’s leading film figures and over 50 films screenings in 17 languages across multiple venues, an eleven day journey into India and the sub continent’s extraordinary worlds”.

Westpac Indian Film Festival of Melbourne Awards are first Indian cinema awards of their kind in Australia. Gala awards presentation held at the Melbourne Recital Centre.  ABC Journalist Del Irani hosted the Awards night and welcomed the guests.  A Jury panel of leading Indian and Australian film Industry figures including director Paul Ireland, Producer Sue Maslin, Screenwriter Andrew Anastasios, editor Jill Bilcock and the timeless ”˜lady in white’ Simi Garewal. Mitu Bhowmick paid special tribute to Australian filmmaker Paul Cox for his contribution to cinema.

Pic 1 rishii

63-year-old actor Rishi Kapoor was presented with a special IFFM award for Excellence in Cinema, he sent out inspiring message to his fans and proudly talked about his family’s 88 years of contribution to the 104-year-old history of Indian cinema, he also expressed gratitude for the invitation to the festival. Rishi Kapoor was accompanied by his wife and actress Neetu Singh and when they were on stage together it was an indeed a moment to cherish.

The highlight of the evening was undoubtedly the singers Suzanne D’Mello, Sara Haider and Shalmali Kholgade.   Hundreds of Indian and Pakistani female fans of Pakistani actor Fawad Khan crowded to grab a glimpse of their heartthrob when he walked the red carpet. Fawad Khan’s presence electrified the Melbourne Recital Centre hall when he stepped on the stage. India had its own gorgeous Sonam Kapoor to match Fawad as she walked the red carpet in an Anamika Khanna creation.

Pic 4 - Rishi and Neetu

The festival’s opening night film ”˜Parched’ won the Best Film Award and the best director honour awarded to Leena yadav. Best actress honour went to Sonam Kapoor for ”˜Neerja’.  The best actor award went to Nawazuddin Siddiqui for his convincing portrayal of psychopathic serial killer in ”˜Raman Raghav’. Pakistani actor Fawad Khan received a ”˜Diversity Award’ for his contribution in proving that art has no boundaries.

Filmmaker Anurag Kashyap also provided some well measured responses as one of the guests during the Live Conversation Hour with Jon Faine on ABC Radio. He was accompanied by Fawad Khan and Richa Chadha in a chat session co-hosted by festival director Mitu Bhowmick Lange.

Festival celebration included flag hoisting on Saturday August 13, 2016 at Federation Square by Bollywood veteran actor Rishi Kapoor and his wife and actress Neetu Singh. The event was opened by his Excellency Navdeep Suri, High Commissioner of India in Australia. The event was followed by the Telstra Bollywood Dance competition which was judged by actress Richa Chadha, Shakun Batra and Malaika Arora Khan. Local dance group performed dances that impressed the judges on the Bollywood talent developing in Melbourne. Provocative dance group, Mandy dance group, the bhangra group, Bollywood dimensions and Cyrus were declared winners in the various categories. Highlight of the event was Sonam Kapoor, who made a dazzling appearance at the Competition.

Pic 7 - vidya balan

The 11 day festival concluded with a visit from festival ambassador Vidya Balan, who was present at the Australian premiere screening of her debut Marathi language film ”˜Ekk Albela’. Vidya Balan visited La Trobe University to launch the ”˜Educate the Educator’ initiative, made possible in partnership between the University and IFFM.   The Westpac Women Empowerment Award presented to Vidya Balan in an intimate gathering at Victorian Parliament. Vidya Balan is the Brand Ambassador of Film Festival and has always been a mind blowing presence at the event.

Like all good things come to an end, so did the IFFM. The Indian film festival of Melbourne ended on Sunday August 21, 2016 in the presence of Bengali film actress Rituparna Sengupta, Tannishtha Chatterjee, Marathi actress Radhika Apte, Filmmaker Srijit Mukherjee and Punjabi singer Amrinder Gill. Gurmeet Sran, with his film The Hidden Truth, and musician Girish Makwana, with his debut film ”˜Colour of Darkness’. The closing night of the festival saw another quality film Pan Nalin’s ”˜Angry Indian Goddesses’, on the theme of the quest for gender equality followed by a Q&A with lead actress Tannishtha Chatterjee.

After a studded opening in Melbourne, the Indian film festival ”˜Bollywood and Beyond’ organised by Mind Blowing Films travelled to Sydney on Wednesday August 17, 2016 ”˜The Westpac Indian Film Festival’ had it’s opening night at Hoyts Paris, Entertainment Quarter.

Pic 8 - Mitu with the actresses

Both Indian film festival of Melbourne & Sydney attracted an impressive line up of Bollywood celebrities when stars come knocking on our doors. Once a year thanks to Mind Blowing films, the Indian community down under as well as Aussies in general get to experience Bollywood from close range. No more of watching Bollywood from afar, a cinema that is fast becoming global in its reach.

Pic 5 - community

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