Melbourne got a taste of Bollywood glamour and theatre screens came alive with the sights and sounds of Indian movies as stars and films aligned to kick off the 2015 Indian Film Festival of Melbourne (IFFM) – Australia’s biggest annual celebration of Indian cinema on Friday, August 14.
The star power led by Anil Kapoor and his daughter Sonam, designer Anamika Khanna, Victorian Minister for Creative Industries Martin Foley and festival director Mitu Bhowmick Lange addressed the first part of the press conference. This was followed by the second part of the press conference addressed by the Katti Batti team of director Nikhil Advani and actors Kangana Ranaut and Imram Khan. Katti Batti premiers on September 18.

At the opening night at the Hoyts in Melbourne Central, the Bollywood stars cast their spell on fans who turned up in strength to listen to their icons.
But the other highlight of the festival was the unfurling of the Indian flag at the iconic Federation Square by Anil Kapoor and the Indian High Commissioner to Australia, Navdeep Suri on Saturday, August 15 to commemorate India’s 69th Independence Day. For the first time in Melbourne’s history, the Indian tri-colour fluttered at Federation Square, as thousands sang the national anthems of both Australia and India. A proud moment for the community.

“As India makes progress in leaps and bounds and marches to become an economic superpower, we as Indian global citizens have to take upon ourselves to further this cause of growth and progress,” Kapoor said while addressing an enthusiastic Indian-diaspora crowd.
“Whatever professions we practice, whatever avenues we foray into, let’s promise ourselves that we will always strive for excellence,” said the superstar who is in Melbourne to attend the Indian Film Festival.
The award ceremony the same evening at the National Gallery of Victoria was a gala event with a show stopping fashion celebrating the theme of “equality” and honouring the best of Indian cinema.


The award for the best film went to Piku, for best director to Shoojit Sircar and best actress to Bhumi Pednekar of Dum Laga Ke Haisha. It was Pednekar’s first award for the best actress while best actor award was given to Irfan Khan for his performance in Piku.
Kaka Muthai film received the best indie film award and Best Telstra People’s Choice Award was given to Rajkumar Hirani for PK. Anil was also conferred with a special award for excellence in the world cinema.

(For more in-depth coverage, look up The Indian Weekly, Issue 62, hitting the stands on Friday, August 21)