The Indian Film Festival of Melbourne (IFFM) announced the winners of the inaugural IFFM Awards, at a sold out gala at Melbourne’s Princess Theatre, recently.
Amitabh Bachchan, the living Bollywood legend and the special guest at the event, was recognised with the IFFM International Screen Icon Award. Director Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s Sports biopic ‘Bhaag Milkha Bhaag’, which follows the life of one of India’s greatest living athletes and Olympian, Milkha Singh, dominated the evening, taking every award which it was nominated for - Best Film, Western Union Best Director and Best Actor (Male) for Farhan Akhtar.
‘The Lunchbox’, directed by Ritesh Batra, won Best Indie Film and Best Actor for Irrfan Khan (shared with Farhan Akhtar, ‘Bhaag Milkha Bhaag’). ‘The Lunchbox’ is set to premiere at IFFM on 10th May and will be releasing in July, in Australia. Kangana Ranaut won Best Actor (Female) for ‘Queen’ and director Anand Gandhi was given a Special Jury Commendation for ‘Ship of Theseus’.
Bollywood Action film ‘Dhoom:3’ was awarded with the Telstra People's Choice Prize for the Indian film with the highest Australian Box Office revenue in 2013.
Leading the panel of judges were prominent film figures from Australia and India, including Phillip Noyce, Rajkumar Hirani, Suhasini Maniratnam, Jill Bilcock, Simi Garewal and Rajeev Masand. Directors Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, Ritesh Batra, Vijay Krishna Acharya and actors Farhan Akhtar & Kangana Ranaut were present at the event to receive their awards.
IFFM is a Victorian Government initiative that aims to strengthen ties between the Indian film industry and Victoria, with Vidya Balan having been the brand ambassador since its inception. The awards have been launched this year, and the festival is scheduled to be held from 1st – 11th May.