Melbourne: The fourth edition of the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne (IFFM) kicked off today in presence of Bollywood stars Kangana Ranaut, Anil Kapoor, Sonam Kapoor, and Imran Khan.
State Minister for Creative Industries Martin Foley launched the festival, which has for the first time coincided with Indian Independence Day tomorrow. It will be celebrated with a flag-raising ceremony by the Indian High Commissioner Navdeep Suri and Anil, which will be followed by a mass Bollywood dance competition open to all dancers.
More than 55 films from India, Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh, will be screened alongside a range of cultural events, including a day of festivities at Federation Square to mark Indian Independence Day on August 15.
The festival is said to aim to foster the next generation of talent. Filmmakers will have the opportunity to take part in a masterclass with Indian filmmaker Nagesh Kukunoor, whose children's film "Dhanak" took out a Grand Prix Award for Best Feature film at the 2015 Berlin Film Festival.
Local performers will have a chance to learn the tools of the trade from famed Indian TV comedian Kiku Sharda. The 2015 festival centres on the theme of "Equality", which will be explored through a range of different lenses, from gender and sexuality to disability and religion.
Winners of the IFFM Awards will be announced at a red carpet gala event tomorrow at the National Gallery of Victoria.
The gala will feature a fashion show showcasing the work of Australian and Indian designers, including Anamika Khanna, the first Indian designer to be invited to the Paris Fashion Week.
"The Andrews Labor Government proudly supports the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne, an event that celebrates multiculturalism and our state's close ties with India," Foley said.
"The festival gives people the opportunity to experience Indian cinema and creativity, and enables our local creative industries to learn from one of the most successful film industries in the world."
Film Victoria CEO Jenni Tosi said, "The Indian Film Festival returns to Melbourne with the vibrancy and energy that only this event can produce."
The Festival Director Mitu Bhowmick Lange said, "We are incredibly excited to present this wonderfully diverse and vibrant festival. We can't wait to see you all come and enjoy the many flavours, events and films that we have lined up for you."