Indian Film Festival Focuses on Diversity

July 8, 2017
The popular Indian Film Festival of Melbourne [IFFM] unveiled the details of this year’s programming, with “Diversity” as a unifying theme.

This year’s festival will feature 60 films in 20 languages from India and the sub-continent. Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka as well as Canada will have films screening at this year’s festival.

IFFM opens on 10 August with Lipstick Under My Burkha (pictured), an acclaimed drama exploring social taboos of four Indian women from diverse backgrounds. The film’s director, Alankrita Shrivastava is also a special guest at this year’s festival.

Shab, a story of how destiny and the city shapes people from different walks of life, will close out the festival on August 22. Shab’s director Onir will attend the closing screening with Raveena Tandon, Ashish Bisht and Vidya Balan, the IFFM’s festival ambassador.

Indian Independence Day, August 15, will be celebrated at the festival on August 12 with a Telstra Bollywood Dance Competition judged by Malaika Arora and the raising of the Indian flag at Federation Square.

IFFM is the host of the Westpac Indian Film Festival of Melbourne Awards (IFFM Awards), the first Indian cinema awards of their kind in Australia. Leading Australian film industry professionals, including Simi Garewal, Andrew Anastasios, Rajeec Masand and Paul Ireland will honour winners in five categories: Best Actor, Actress, Director, Film and Indie Film. Winners will be announced on August 11 at Melbourne Recital Centre.

“As Australia’s oldest company and first bank, we’re a big supporter of multiculturalism and diversity in the community,” said Westpac’s general manager for premium customers and growth markets Ganesh Chandrasekkar. “We’re thrilled to take part in a wonderful celebration of South Asian cinema to recognise the talented artists and the important contributions that all multicultural Australians make to our wider community.”

The Hurrah Bollywood strand, which features the best mainstream Hindi cinema of the last year, will screen Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story, and Dear Zindagi. The Beyond Bollywood slate, which features arthouse cinema in regional Indian languages includes Chronicles of Hari. Other festival events include From the Subcontinent and Film India World programming series.

Other highlights include the Master Strokes, which showcases Indian cinema classics; the world premiere of Mahadeb Shi’s documentary Tramjatra, which follows an ex-tram conductor’s journey to Kolkata; and the Australian premiere of Shubhashish Bhutani’s Hotel Salvation, a father/son story that illustrates traditional Hindu philosophy of death and freedom.

The Indian Film Festival Melbourne is on August 10 – 22, 2017.

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