Reading Time: 3 minutesIt’s glitz and glamour at the inaugural IFFM Awards
Minister Heidi Victoria with Big B
Photo: Ravinder Singh Jabbal
“There are actors, there are stars, and then there is Amitabh Bachchan,” declared Indian actress Simi Garewal, to thunderous applause, at Melbourne’s iconic Princess Theatre recently. Simi was addressing the audience at the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne’s (IFFM) 2014 inaugural awards Night event.
The awards were held to celebrate the best of Indian cinema and megastar Amitabh Bachchan was honoured with the International Screen Icon award on behalf of the Victorian Government and IFFM. Minister Heidi Victoria Minister for the Arts, Minister for Women’s Affairs, Minister for Consumer Affairs, presented the award to the actor who is loved by millions.
The inaugural awards function was attended by hundreds of people from the Australian Indian community, dignitaries and IFFM festival guests. A red carpet welcome awaited the Festival guests that included actress Kangana Ranaut and Simi Garewal; director Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra and his wife P. S Bharathi; writer-directors Vijay Krishna Acharya and Ritesh Batra.
Ritesh Batra bagged the best Indie Film award for Lunchbox. Kangana Ranaut took away the best actress award for her role in Vikas Bahl’s Queen. She received the award from Ted Baillieu MLA andformer Victorian Premier, under whose tenure the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne was launched in 2012.
Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s biopic Bhaag Milkha Singh Bhaag based on Indian athlete Milkha Singh,swept three awards in the category of best film, best director and best actor. Actor Farhan Akhtar, who played the lead role in the biopic, shared the best actor award with Irfan Khan who won the award for his role in Ritesh Batra’s Lunchbox. They were both not present to collect the award; instead, a pre-recorded message from Farhan Akhtar was displayed thanking his fans and the festival jury for selecting him for this honour.
Aamir Khan’s latest hit Dhoom 3 took away the People’s Choice Award for being the highest grossing Indian film in 2013 at the Australian box office, collecting revenue of $1.7 million dollars. Writer-director Vijay Krishna Acharya, collected the award along with Avtar Panesar, Vice President of Yash Raj Films.
As the Official MC, Youtube sensation Jehan Ratnatunga garnered some laughs for his Sri Lankan mother style bantering on video. Raina and Govind Pillai from Karma Dance opened the entertainment segment with a classical Bharatnatyam fusion performance.
The Bombay Royale Australian band fronted by singers Parvyn Kaur Singh and Shourov Bhattacharya and led by Andy Williamson performed music inspired by soundtracks of Bollywood movies. Over 50 dancers from the Shiamak Dawar Dance group performed an Amitabh Bachchan medley much to the delight of the audience and the icon himself who praised the group for their high-energy performance.
Filmmakers Donald Percy and Abhishekh Verma won the Western Union Short Film Competition 2014 for their short films Makeover and Chasni respectively. The theme this year was ‘Hope’ and Verma won a trip to Melbourne while Percy won a trip to Mumbai from IFFM.
Mitu Bhowmick Lange, IFFM Festival Director said, “We are thrilled to have honoured Indian cinema’s best and brightest at these inaugural awards. It was not an easy task to whittle down favourites, but we had the help of an amazing jury and a passionate audience. We hope that in future these awards will become a regular stop for India’s most talented filmmakers”.
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