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Indian Film Festival of Melbourne

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Indian Film Festival of Melbourne
Awards receivedGuinness World Records, Melbourne Awards
Produced byMind Blowing Films
LanguageHindi, Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu, Marathi, English

The Indian Film Festival of Melbourne (IFFM) is an annual Indian film festival based in Melbourne, Australia. It is presented by Film Victoria and the State Government of Victoria, and produced by Mind Blowing Films, a Melbourne-based distributor of Indian cinema across Australia and New Zealand. Founded in 2010, the festival was previously called Bollywood & Beyond, and from 2012 was re-established as an initiative of the Victorian Coalition Government Victorian Government that aims to strengthen ties between the Indian film industry and Victoria. Award-winning Bollywood actress, Vidya Balan [1] is the ambassador for the Indian Film Festival Melbourne, and has been since its initiation. IFFM is an important fixture in the local arts calendar: permitting a local audience to engage with some of Bollywood's best.[2] The festival also travels to Sydney, and has previously travelled to Adelaide, Perth and Auckland.The festival presents a diverse array of film and events: with cinema: both indie and Bollywood, curated from across both India and the diaspora, and strives to foster an inclusive cultural collaboration.

The festival encourages emerging young film-makers from India, Australia and New Zealand through the Western Union Short Film Competition.[3] The winning film-makers are invited to the festival's opening night gala in Melbourne to be awarded their prize and the winning films are screened in cinemas during the festival.[4]

Outside of cinemas, the festival also holds an annual Bollywood Dance Competition and a variety of other events, including Masterclasses with celebrated writers and directors, Q&A sessions with film-makers and a flag hoisting ceremony held at Federation Square to celebrate Indian independence.

History[edit | edit source]

The festival was founded in 2010 by Mitu Bhowmick Lange, the director of Mind Blowing Films, a Melbourne-based distributor of Indian films throughout Australia and New Zealand. Her vision for the festival is to act as a "showcase of India".,[5] and to broaden the Bollywood-centric reputation of Indian cinema.

In March 2011, Bollywood & Beyond earned a Guinness World Record for the 'Largest Bollywood Dance Class', with participation from 1,235 dancers. The event was covered by Australian and Indian news channels celebrating the multiculturalism of Melbourne.[6][7] The competition was held during Melbourne's Moomba festival and was judged by item star Malaika Arora Khan and film director Kabir Khan.[8]

Previous Festivals[edit | edit source]

2017[edit | edit source]

The festival of 2017 featured more than 60 films and documentaries from all over India and the subcontinent in across 20 languages. The festival expanded into film screenings and events being held at 8 different venues all around Melbourne. The theme for the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne 2017 (IFFM 2017) was Diversity.

The Opening Night of IFFM 2017, the 10th of August, witnessed the screening of one of India’s most controversial films of the year, Lipstick Under My Burkha. Thousands of people from Melbourne assembled at the cinemas to watch a film that was initially banned in India for being too ‘lady oriented’. The festival screened the movie in two screens instead of traditionally screening in only one screen due to numerous requests from the audiences and eventually being sold out. The event took place at HOYTS Melbourne Central and was graced by the director of the film, Alankrita Shrivastava and the lead actress, Konkona Sen Sharma. Not only did they introduce their film, but also addressed a session of Q&A after the film. The event was also attended by film critic Rajeev Masand, actress Tannishtha Chatterjee and Dangal filmmaker, Nitesh Tiwari.

The following night, the Westpac IFFM Awards Night was held at the Melbourne Recital Centre. The 1000 seater auditorium was packed with celebrities and guests. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Karan Johar, Sushant Singh Rajput, Rahul Bose, Rajkummar Rao, Shobu Yarlagadda, Nitesh Tiwari, Tannishtha Chatterjee, Malaika Arora, Simi Garewal, Taran Adarsh, Rajeev Masand, Shoojit Sircar, Satish Kaushik and Garth Davis were in attendance of one of the most star glazed nights of Melbourne. Undoubtedly the biggest night of the festival, this years IFFM Awards witnessed performances by sisters Akriti Kakar, Sukriti Kakar and Prakriti Kakar along with dance performances by E motion 21 and the Shiamak Davar crew. Sushant Singh Rajput and Rajkummar Rao won the Best Actor and Best Actor Special Mention awards respectively. Konkona Sen Sharma bagged the Best Actress award for her film, Lipstick Under My Burkha. The night ended with Karan Johar winning the Leadership in Cinema award and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan receiving the Excellence in Global Cinema award.

The next day, the 12th of August, was the day of the Flag Hoisting ceremony and the Telstra Bollywood Dance Competition. More than 3000 people gathered to witness Aishwarya Rai Bachchan be the first woman to raise the Indian national flag at Federation Square and celebrate India’s 70th year of independence. Following the flag hoisting ceremony was the Telstra Bollywood Dance Competition wherein more than 20 groups brought Federation Square to life with a riot of colours and Bollywood music. The competition was judged by none other than dancing goddess of India, Malaika Arora. The event was also attended by Sushant Singh Rajput and Karan Johar.

The 13th of August witnessed 6 Masterclasses at Deakin Edge by some of the stalwarts of the Indian film industry. The day started with masterclasses with Vikram Phadnis and Taran Adarsh followed by ‘In Coversation With’ sessions wherein host, Rajeev Masand, spoke to Shobu Yarlagadda, Nitesh Tiwari, Shoojit Sircar and Karan Johar about their latest projects and their journey in the film industry. The following week saw several Q&A sessions with Konkona Sen Sharma, Rahul Bose, Rajkummar Rao, Satish Kaushik, Vikram Phadnis, Tannishtha Chatterjee and Adil Hussain.

IFFM 2017 concluded with the screening of Shab and a documentary, Tramjatra. Gracing the event with their presence to introduce the film and address a session of Q&A were one of Bollywood’s maestro actress’ Raveena Tandon, actor Ashish Bisht, filmmaker Onir, actor Raj Suri, filmmaker Mahadeb Shri and Roberto D'Andrea.

The festival was welcomed by the people of Melbourne and received a lot of love for bringing critically acclaimed cinema from the subcontinent to Melbourne.

2016[edit | edit source]

The 2016 Festival boasted 51 films and documentaries from all across India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Australia. The festival included movies in over 15 different languages from India and the subcontinent.

IFFM 2016 started with its Opening Night on Thursday the 11th of August with a theme of Female Empowerment and the screening of Parched at Hoyts Melbourne Central. Parched director Leena Yadav along with Radhika Apte, who starred in the film, were in attendance for a Q&A session for the film. Richa Chadha, Kapoor & Sons actor Fawad Khan and director Shakun Batra were also in attendance.

The following night, the third IFFM Awards Night[9] was held at the Melbourne Recital Centre, where 900+ guests and many Bollywood celebrities where in attendance. Surprise guests included rising star Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Sonam Kapoor who were also awarded the Best Actor and Actress of 2016. The Jury for 2016 were Simi Garewal, Jill Bilcock, Rajeev Masand, Sue Maslin, Paul Ireland and Andrew Anastasios. Singers Sara Haider, Shalmali Kholgade and Suzanne D'Mello set the stage alight with their own collections of songs from the subcontinent. The Flag Hoisting ceremony took place at Federation Square on the 13th of August. Bollywood legend Rishi Kapoor had the honour of hoisting the flag. This was followed by the Telstra Bollywood Dance Competition, where Malaika Arora Khan, Richa Chadda, and Shakun Batra judged the best and brightest future dance talents from Melbourne. The events of the day were live streamed to Harmony Square in City of Greater Dandenong.

On Friday the 19th of August Vidya Balan arrived at La Trobe University in Bundoora to launched the Educate the Educators initiative[10] with the University's acting Vice Chancellor, Jane Long. The festival concluded on the 21st of August with the screening of the critically acclaimed film Angry Indian Goddesses. This was followed by a Q&A with star Tannishtha Chatterjee

Other guests in attendance at IFFM 2016 included Anurag Kashyap, Amrindar Gill, Rituparna Sengupta and Srijit Mukherjee.

2015[edit | edit source]

In April 2015, IFFM ambassador Vidya Balan launched the theme of IFFM 2015 as Equality,[2] citing the theme as “reflecting a dialogue that's on in every which way, that's happening in theatre and dance as well as cinema. And not just in art, but in everyday lives".[11]

IFFM 2015 was the largest and most ambitious yet: with 50+ screenings, Q&As and masterclass sessions, a flag-hoisting by Anil Kapoor for Indian Independence Day, the Telstra Bollywood Dance Competition (with dance groups from across Australia performing across the afternoon to a crowd of 1000s at Federation Square); and the second IFFM Awards Night, with the inaugural Equality Fashion Show. The festival showcased 29 Australian premieres, and films in 11 languages. Nagesh Kukunoor and Kiku Sharda shared filmmaking insights at masterclass sessions, and filmmakers from across India and Australia, including Paul Cox, Srijit Mukherji and B. S. Lingadevaru, participated in Q&As following screenings of their films. Guests of the festival included Bollywood actress and international model, Sonam Kapoor, the timeless Simi Garewal, and Katti Batti trio, Kangana Ranaut, Imran Khan and Nikhil Advani.

In 2015, the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne was nominated for the City of Melbourne Awards, the city's highest accolade dedicated to individuals and organizations who change Melbourne for the better. IFFM hosted by Mind Blowing Films were finalists in the category,"CONTRIBUTION TO PROFILE BY A CORPORATION."

2015 saw the hosting of the second IFFM Awards Night,[12][13] with the inaugural Equality Fashion Show,[14] hosted at the Great Hall, National Gallery of Victoria. A silent auction of preeminent Indian and Australian designers' pieces, including items by Anamika Khanna and Gaurav Gupta, was held to benefit the Royal Children's Hospital Fund. CNN-IBN's Rajeev Masand provided coverage of the event to an audience of 58 million. The jury for the 2015 IFFM Awards consisted of Simi Garewal, Rajeev Masand, Andrew Anastasios, Jill Bilcock, and Nikhil Advani.

2014[edit | edit source]

IFFM 2014 saw over 45 screenings exploring the richness of Indian cinema across four program streams: Hurrah Bollywood, Beyond Bollywood, New Voices and Films From the Subcontinent.[15] Bollywood legend, the so-called Godfather of Indian cinema, Amitabh Bachchan was a guest of IFFM 2014, along with national award-winning arthouse star Konkona Sen Sharma; iconic filmmakers Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra and Rajkumar Hirani; Bollywood siren Malaika Arora Khan; popular actress, director, producer and writer, Suhasini Maniratnam; celebrated writer and director of the record-breaking Dhoom 3, Vijay Krishna Acharya; and from Lollywood, Pakistani producer Hassan Wagas Rana (Waar) and acclaimed Pakistani actor, writer and director Shaan Shahid.

The inaugural IFFM Awards Night was held at the Princess Theatre, Melbourne, and attended by Amitabh Bachchan,[16] who received the IFFM Award for Excellence in Cinema. The jury, composed of Australian and Indian film practitioners, included Jill Bilcock, Rajkumar Hirani, Simi Garewal, Rajeev Masand, Phillip Noyce and Suhasini Maniratnam, selected the inaugural winners of the IFFM Awards.

2013[edit | edit source]

IFFM 2013 celebrated the 100th anniversary of Indian cinema.[17] The lineup of films during the 20-day festival included the 100-year-old silent film ‘Raja Harish Chandra’ and the colour version of ‘Mughal-E-Azam’, Bombay Talkies, Sholay, Talaash, and a curation of new and engaging cinema. The guest line-up included IFFM Ambassador Vidya Balan, Pamela Chopra – film doyenne late Yash Chopra’s wife, Prabhu Deva, Farah Khan, Simi Garewal, Kabir Khan and Girish Kumar.

2012[edit | edit source]

Former Miss World and screen goddess Priyanka Chopra; Bollywood superstar Shahid Kapoor; producer/director Kunal Kohli, producer Vicky Bahri, acclaimed designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee and animation director Jugal Hansraj were special guests at the Opening Night of the inaugural Indian Film Festival of Melbourne (IFFM).

Festival director Mitu Bhowmick Lange said, “We feel truly honoured to have such an extraordinary wealth of talent in Melbourne for the festival. It’s a fantastic opportunity for Melbourne film lovers to not only feast on the best new films from India but also engage with some of the industry’s leading talents in Q&As, master classes and discussions”.[18]

Over its twelve days, IFFM screened 40 films including 20 Australian premieres, all of which celebrated the dizzying breadth of Indian film culture. The films range from Bengali arthouse to Hindi mass entertainment and South Indian action; from “masala” movies (lots of ingredients all cooked in the same pot) to regional arthouse, plus a program of rarely seen films from the wider subcontinent including Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Nepal, specially curated for the festival by acclaimed Indian New Wave director, Onir.

Awards[edit | edit source]

IFFM[edit | edit source]

Year Award Category Result
2016 Melbourne Award Contribution to Multiculturalism by a Corporation Winner
2015 Melbourne Award Contribution to Profile by a Corporation Finalist
2017 Most Popular Indian Festival Abroad at International Film Business Awards Winner

Best Film[edit | edit source]

Year Film Director Country
2017 Pink (2016 film) Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury India
2016 Kapoor & Sons Shakun Batra India
2015 Piku Shoojit Sircar India
2014 Bhaag Milkha Bhaag Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra India

Best Actor (Female)[edit | edit source]

Year Actor Film Role
2017 Konkona Sen Sharma Lipstick Under My Burkha Shireen Aslam
2016 Sonam Kapoor Neerja Neerja Bhanot
2015 Bhumi Pednekar Dum Laga Ke Haisha[19] Sandhya Verma
2014 Kangana Ranaut Queen Rani Mehra

Best Actor (Male)[edit | edit source]

Year Actor Film Role
2017 Sushant Singh Rajput M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story MS Dhoni
2017 Rajkummar Rao Special Mention Trapped (2017 Hindi film) Shaurya
2016 Nawazuddin Siddiqui Raman Raghav 2.0 Ramanna
2015 Irrfan Khan Piku Rana Chaudhary
2015 Shahid Kapoor Haider Haider Meer
2014 Farhan Akhtar Bhaag Milkha Bhaag Subedar Milkha Singh A.K.A The Flying Sikh
2014 Irrfan Khan The Lunchbox Saajan Fernandes

Best Director[edit | edit source]

Year Director Film
2017 Nitesh Tiwari Dangal (film)
2016 Leena Yadav Parched
2015 Shoojit Sircar Piku
2014 Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra Bhaag Milkha Bhaag

Best Indian Film[edit | edit source]

Year Film Director Country
2017 Lipstick Under My Burkha Alankrita Shrivastava India
2016 Thithi Raam Reddy India
2015 Kaaka Muttai (Crow Eggs) M. Manikandan India
2014 The Lunchbox Ritesh Batra India

IFFM Excellence in Cinema[edit | edit source]

Year Actor Country
2017 Aishwarya Rai Bachchan India
2016 Rishi Kapoor India
2015 Anil Kapoor India
2014 Amitabh Bachchan India

Telstra People's Choice Award[edit | edit source]

Year Film Director Producer References
2017 Baahubali 2: The Conclusion S. S. Rajamouli Shobu Yarlagadda [20][21]
2017 Dangal Nitesh Tiwari Aamir Khan [20][21]
2015 PK Rajkumar Hirani Vidhu Vinod Chopra [22]
2014 Dhoom 3 Vijay Krishna Acharya Aditya Chopra [23][24]

Winners of Western Union Short Film Competition[edit | edit source]

Year Film Director Country
2017 Sudo Ballin Mark Hellinger Australia
2016 Out on a Lim Joshua Walker Australia
2015 Road to Grand Final Mark Hellinger and Jesse Heskell Australia
2015 R*pe: It's Your Fault All India Bakchod India
2014 Makeover Don Percy Australia
2014 Chasni Abhishek Verma India
2013 Give Sheep a Chance Sean McCart Australia
2013 Sati Nilesh Desai India
2013 Lockie n Love Dimi Nakov New Zealand
2012 Letters Home Neilesh Verma Australia

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "is the ambassador for IFFM".
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Bollywood For Thought". upstart. 2015-08-27. Retrieved 2015-12-17.
  3. "Western Union Short Film Competition Winners Announced!". Filmink. 4 March 2011. Retrieved 11 November 2011.
  4. Western Union Short Film Competition
  5. "Preview: 2011 Indian Film Festival". SBS. 9 March 2011. Retrieved 11 November 2011.
  6. "Festival smashes Bollywood dance record", Nine Network, 12 March 2011
  7. "Munni in Guinness Book of Records", Times of India, 16 March 2011
  8. Bollywood Dance Competition Archived April 25, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  10. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-10-12. Retrieved 2016-10-12.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  11. Philippa Hawker (2013-05-21). "Bollywood actress and Indian Film Festival ambassador Vidya Balan on women speaking up and speaking out". Smh.com.au. Retrieved 2015-12-17.
  12. Indian Film Fest of Melbourne Held with Glamour and Panache (2015-08-22). "Held with Glamour and Panache". The Daily Star. Retrieved 2015-12-17.
  13. Ahalya M. "Blog - EVENT | Film meets Fashion in Melbourne for IFFM2015". Thecrimsonbride.com. Retrieved 2015-12-17.
  14. "PHOTOS: Sonam Kapoor glams up on ramp at IFFM 2015 | The Indian Express | Page 2". The Indian Express. 2015-08-18. Retrieved 2015-12-17.
  15. "2014 Indian Film Festival of Melbourne - ABC Melbourne - Australian Broadcasting Corporation". Abc.net.au. 2014-04-17. Retrieved 2015-12-17.
  16. Natalie McMullin (2014-05-06). "Bollywood comes to Melbourne for the IFFM 2014 award night". Australia Plus. Retrieved 2015-12-17.
  17. "Indian Film Festival 2013 a great success". The Indian Down Under. 2013-07-30. Retrieved 2015-12-17.
  18. "Priyanka Chopra, Shahid Kapoor to attend IFF Melbourne and Malaika Sydney's guest". The Indian Down Under. 2012-06-06. Retrieved 2015-12-17.
  19. "Bhumi Pednekar happy to win best actress at IFFM 2015". The Indian Express. 2015-08-16. Retrieved 2015-12-17.
  20. 20.0 20.1 "IFFM-Dangal and Baahubali won telestra peoples choice award".
  21. 21.0 21.1 Mind Blowing Films (19 September 2017). "Telstra People's choice award - Dangal and Baahubali 2 - IFFM 2017" – via YouTube.
  22. "Indian Film Festival Melbourne". www.iffm.com.au.
  23. "IFFM-2014 winners".
  24. Mind Blowing Films (13 June 2014). "Telstra People's Choice Award IFFM Awards: Indian Film Festival of Melbourne 2014 Dhoom 3" – via YouTube.

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