The Indian Film Festival of Melbourne (IFFM) announced today its grand winners for its 12th edition, which was held virtually. This year’s festival boasted an impressive line-up of feature and short films from across the cinemas of India. Representing the theme of Diversity through Cinema, IFFM had an overwhelming response from across the globe. The festival was attended by various dignitaries of Australia, The Honourable Linda Dessau AC, Governor of Victoria Mr. Andrew Howard AM QC, The Honourable Minister Danny Pearson, Minister for Creative Industries, Regulatory Reform, Government Services and Assistant Treasurer, The Honourable Minister Luke Donellan, Minister for Child Protection, Disability, Ageing and Carers, Ms. Caroline Pitcher, CEO Film Victoria and by eminent Indian artists like Anurag Kashyap, Shoojit Sircar, Thiagarajan Kumararaja, Sriram Raghavan were amongst the presenters. Also present were the prestigious jury members including Richa Chadha, Guneet Monga, Onir, Australian filmmaker Geoffrey Wright, Oscar-nominated editor Jill Bilcock were was also the present.
IFFM honored Pankaj Tripathi with the Prestigious Diversity in Cinema Award presented by LaTrobe University. Additionally, Soorarai Pottru walked away with the Best Feature Film and Suriya won the Best Actor award from the same film. Vidya Balan won the Best Actress for her widely acclaimed film Sherni and Mirzapur 2 was given the Best Series Award. Ace filmmaker Anurag Basu picks up the Best Director trophy for the feature film Ludo.
Speaking about the winners, the festival’s director Mitu Bhowmick Lange, said, “We congratulate all the winners and their teams for making great films that were loved by the audiences across the globe. It is about time that we have conversations in cinema and about cinema that are not mainstream and biased. It is time to present the diverse sensibilities through narratives that are ground-breaking and all the winners of the IFFM awards symbolize this fervour of thought.”
On winning Best Documentary Award, Sona Mohapatra said, "At a time when the world is finding its new feet in this new normal IFFM was our first outing after the second wave in India, we are grateful and we are looking for better times and hoping to make more music. Sending you out all a lot of love, much more music in our lives, and yes being fearless in telling stories.
On Winning Best Actor in a series for The Family Man 2, Manoj Bajpayee said, "Thank you to all the jury members for honoring me. I must mention - cinema or series - are both highly collaborative. It’s Highly embarrassing for me to take away the award to myself without mentioning everyone involved. Amazon, Raj, and DK, but it’s the writers for the series that make a lot of difference. It’s that team of writers, so thank you to them for giving me the space to become this character. The last time I was at this festival I took the Best Actor award for Gali Guleiyan and I’m grateful to the festival."
On winning Best Actress in a series for The Family Man 2, Samantha Akkineni said, "First time at this festival. To be here amongst such immense talent. I’m grateful and it’s such a huge honour. Thanks to Raj and DK to see past the cute girl image I have and to give me this role which is so different from what I have done so far. To give me this character that has so many layers and such diverse parts to it. It’s my big dive into OTT and what an amazing show to do it with."
On winning Best Series for Mirzapur 2, filmmaker Gurmeet Singh said, "Overwhelming to be being around here with such amazing talent. It’s all thanks to the writers, OTT is their medium and they gave us such amazing content to work with, so all the credit to them."
On winning the prestigious Diversity in Cinema Award, Pankaj Tripathi said, "This award is special for me, I’m humbled - it’s really inspiring for me, my craft. The man who is here to give me this award. He is the one who discovered my talent. So thanks to Anurag Kashyap sir. He is the one who rediscovered my talent. So I’m grateful to you. I’m grateful to all my directors, writers for having me part of their projects."
On winning the Best Actor in a feature film for Sorrarai Pottru, Suriya said, "I’m sure all the nominees have given their best. This film is very special. This is the first award I’m getting for this film. This is one of the first films that came to me during the pandemic. Thanks to all the fans who have given us so much love. In my career, I felt bored with what I was doing after having worked for 20 years. So thanks to my director Sudha - this film was her 10 years dream - she worked 4 years on writing or his film. The character of Maara will not be anything without her. I couldn’t ask for more."
On winning the Best Actress in a feature film for Sherni, Vidya Balan said, "I’m thrilled to be receiving the award for Sherni which was shot during the pandemic. Thanks to my director Amit Masurkar, my producer Abundantia- who pulled all stops to make this film during these uncertain times."
On winning the Best Director Award for Ludo, Anurag Basu said, "Humbling to be part of the nominees and to be winning the best director. Thankful to Netflix and T-Series. My actors were amazing to stand by me. Such amazing people, my crew, my actors. Such a crazy bunch of people. This award shows us that despite all the situation we are in, shows that cinema will continue to be celebrated."
Here’s a complete list of winners:
Best Feature Film - Soorarai Pottru
Best Performance Male (Feature) - Suriya Sivakumar (Soorarai Pottru)
Best Performance Female (Feature) - Vidya Balan (Sherni) & Honourable mention to Nimisha Sajayan (The Great Indian Kitchen)
Best Director - Anurag Basu (Ludo) & Honorary Mention Prithvi Konanur (Pinki Elli?)
Best Series - Mirzapur Season 2
Best Actress in a Series - Samantha Akkineni (The Family Man 2)
Best Actor in a Series - Manoj Bajpayee (The Family Man 2)
Equality in Cinema (Short Film) - Sheer Qorma
Equality in Cinema Award (Feature Film) - The Great Indian Kitchen
Best Indie Film - Fire in the Mountains
Diversity in Cinema Award - Pankaj Tripathi
Disruptor Award - Sanal Kumar Sasidharan
Best Documentary Film – Shut Up Sona