An array of celebrities, including Vidya Balan, Richa Chadha, Rishi Kapoor and Radhika Apte, will head to Melbourne this August for the 11-day Indian Film Festival of Melbourne. This is the sixth edition of the festival, which has a theme of Women Empowerment.
The festival commences on August 11, and is on till August 20. The brand ambassador of the Indian Festival of Melbourne is Vidya Balan, who will be spotted with several other Bollywood celebrities in the island continent. The 11-day festival showcases a jam-packed schedule that’s overflowing with gala events, master classes with India’s leading film figures, and more than 50 film screenings in 17 languages across four venues in Melbourne.
This year, the festival opens with the Leena Yadav-directed film Parched, which stars Radhika Apte as one of the leads. Talking about the film, Leena said: “Parched is my reaction to a misogynistic society that treats women as objects of sex, where their greatest role is to serve men. Giving my women characters a voice that observes, absorbs and reacts was what drove me to write this drama about ordinary women who are driven to extraordinary ends. It is a huge honour to be the Opening film at MIFF. This is also because the journey of Parched started in Australia. I was on a jury of a festival in Brisbane and that is where I started writing Parched. And that is also when I attended a talk moderated by Mitu Bhowmick Lange. There is a design to the way things pan out! Thank you IFFM 2016.”
This year, IFFM will have the versatile Rishi Kapoor as its chief guest, who will also do the honour of hoisting the Indian flag at the festival on Indian Independence Day in Melbourne. On being asked about his thoughts on representing India at the festival, Rishi said, “To represent one’s country,that too in a foreign land and unfurl the national flag is a pride like no other. I look forward to being a part of the film festival this August in Melbourne.”
The festival will also be attended by various other Bollywood celebrities, including Richa Chadha, who has been invited to host a masterclass for film enthusiasts across Melbourne. The masterclass will throw light on varied aspects of Indian films such as the changes in women’s roles in both mainstream and indie films. On being selected for the workshop, Richa said, “It feels awesome to be invited to speak on behalf of Indian cinema. There’s a huge expat population in Australia and I am excited to meet them. Looking forward to discussing cinema at such a platform”.
According to the itinerary, various other programmes are scheduled as well. The festival will close with the screening Angry Indian Goddesses, a film that took Indian and international markets by storm last year.