Helmed by the Victorian government, Australia, the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne (IIFM) is back for its 10th edition in the cultural city, and will celebrate "courage" as its central theme. This year, the festival will run from 8 to 17 August. 2019 will see an impressive array of new jury members added to the festival, which include filmmaker Fred Schepisi (Six Degrees of Separation), actress Victoria Hill (Macbeth, First Reformed, The Chaperone), and Vince Colosimo, who is an AFI award-winning actor. Jill Bilcock, Academy Award-winning editor of films like Moulin Rogue, Romeo and Juliet, and Elizabeth, is the returning jury member on the panel, reports News18.
Last month, it was announced that global icon, multi-award winning actor-producer Shah Rukh Khan will be the chief guest for the festival. He will also open the festival by presenting National Award-winning filmmaker Rima Das' latest Assamese feature, Bulbul Can Sing. Khan will open the IFFM on 8 August, along with other festival guests, and in the company of Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, and festival director Mitu Bhowmick Lange.
Talking about presiding over the ceremony, Khan said in a statement, "I'm particularly pleased with the theme of the festival this year which is courage, an emotion that resonates with storytellers who really have the might to change the society and the world. I have had great memories of shooting for Chak De! India in Melbourne and look forward to being back again, this time to celebrate Indian cinema."
Apart from this, Khan will also felicitated with the 'Excellence in Cinema' honour at the awards night of IFFM on 8 August. The festival would pay tribute to the actor's continuous contribution to cinema and popular culture in India with the award.
Ayushmann Khurrana, Tabu and Radhika Apte's edge-of-the-seat psychological thriller Andhadhun will also be screened at the IFFM. Tabu will attend the screening alongside the director-writer Sriram Raghavan. According to a press release, they will also partake in a discussion about the film afterwards.
Actor-director Dhanush will also be travelling to Melbourne for the premiere of his international debut film The Extraordinary Journey of Fakir. The film, directed by Ken Scott, is an Indo- French co-production which is based on the international bestseller by Romain Puertolas, The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir Who Got Trapped in an Ikea Wardrobe'
From the World section, Gurinder Chaddha's Blinded By The Light will make its way to IIFM. The film was also showcased at the Sundance Film Festival 2019, where it received rave reviews, and was sold to New Line for $15 million.
Chef Vikas Khanna's directoral debut, The Last Colour, that revolves around the widows of Vrindavan, is another film to be screened at the IIFM this year. Mayur Katariya's brave film about a transgender girl's quest to become a teacher in India, Ek Aasha, is also scheduled to be screened under World category.
Under the 'Beyond the Bollywood' section of Melbourne Festival, a lot of worthy Indian regional films are making their presence felt. From Tamil hit Pariyerum Perumal to Marathi film Smile Please, IIFM has diverse projects reserved for the regional films.
Nominations for the IIFM 2019 are as follows:
Best Indie Film
Widow of Silence
Bulbul Can Sing
The Gold Laden Sheep and the Sacred Mountain
Sriram Raghavan - Andhadhun
Zoya Akhtar - Gully Boy
Thiagarajan Kumararaja - Super Deluxe
Rima Das - Bulbul Can Sing
Praveen Morchhale - Widow of Silence
Jhanu Barua - Bhoga Khirkee
Abhishek Chaubey- Sonchirya
Tabu - Andhadhun
Neena Gupta - Badhaai Ho
Alia Bhatt - Gully Boy
Rituparna Sengupta - Ahaa Re
Jigmeet Dewa Lhamo - Chuskit
Zerifa Wahid - Bhoga Khirkee
Ayushman Khuranna - Andhadhun
Ranveer Singh - Gully Boy
Vijay Sethupathi - Super Deluxe
Manoj Bajpai - Bhonsle
Amitabh Bachchan - Badla
Vicky Kaushal - Uri: The Surgical Strike
Namdev Gaurav - Namdev Bhau
Each year, the iconic landmark of Melbourne, the Federation Square, is populated on one of the most important days for the Indian community living in the cultural hotspot. As part of the annual IFFM, the Indian Flag will be hoisted at the Federation Square, ahead of the Independence Day celebrations. This year, as the festival will be celebrating its 10th year amongst much fervour, Karan Johar will hoist the flag.