Tag: Mitu Bhowmick

IFFM-2020 Online Oct. 23-30 : Over 50 films in 17 languages, 34 International Premiers, 56 Aussie Premiers


By Neeraj Nanda

MELBOURNE, 13 October: Movie bonanza for film buffs is not far off. The Indian Film Festival of Melbourne 2020s (IFFM-2020) cinema magic will cast its spell from 23-30 October, as the pandemic lockdown eases and life inches towards a normal. The announcement of IFFM-2020 online, in line with coronavirus gathering restrictions, screening of over 50 films in 17 languages, including 34 International Premieres and 56 Premiers Australian, is no surprise. The IFFM has been doing this feat for years now.

IFFM Festival Director, Mitu Bhowmick Lange says, “Indian filmmakers – from independent short filmmakers to our most powerful directors – turn their gaze to issues of freedom and equality in the contemporary world and celebrate the diversity that defines us all. The film is a powerful way to bring people together be they sitting in a packed cinema or in 2020, in their own homes.”

All films will be available for viewing free of charge across Australia from October 23 to 30 in recognition of the pressures this year has placed on many people, IFFM is partnering with Mental Health Foundation Australia and encourages festival participants to donate to the MHO when booking.

Opening the Festival are two outstanding films addressing disability and gender equality – NATKHAT (The Brat) and HABBBDI:

NATKHAT (transl The Brat) is a 25-minute film produced and starring Vidya Balan.   One of India’s most powerful and
acclaimed actors, widely recognized as pioneering a change in the portrayal of women in Hindi Cinema, Balan plays an abused mother teaching her son about gender equality and empathy through the telling of a simple bedtime story.“Natkhat makes you confront the reality that most women in this country live on a day to day basis and how we are bringing up children and how if we want to see a change, we have to bring up our children differently,” says Vidya Balan

The delightful feature HABBBADI focuses on Kabaddi a popular contact sport in Southern Asia that first originated in
Ancient India and shows how sometimes our biggest weakness becomes our biggest strength. When the news of his village’s Kabbadi team traveling to Mumbai breaks out a 10-year-old boy with a speech impediment sees the opportunity to meet the girl he adores. But will he be able to chant kabbadi kabbadi without stammering?

An IFFM-2020 media release says, ” The 2020 Festival features five dynamic program streams of new and classic films from India and the subcontinent.‘Hurrah Bollywood’, the best mainstream Hindi cinema from the last twelve months; ‘Beyond Bollywood’ art-house and cinema in regional Indian languages; ‘Films from the Subcontinent’ – Bangladesh, Pakistan and Nepal; ‘Film India World’ focussing on Indian films that cross international borders, and the Documentary section including a number of critically acclaimed documentaries. Stand out highlights include the micro-budgeted, guerilla-filmed noir LORNI THE FLANEUR; THE ILLEGAL,” a timely film about immigrants in the U.S” (Variety);EEB ALLAY OOO!, award-winning director Prateek Vat’s uses monkeys as a metaphor to satirize blind faith and superstition in modern India, and MOTI BAGH, a documentary film based on the struggle of a farmer in a remote Himalayan village which is India’s official entry in this year’s Oscars.”


The festival will pay special tribute programs honoring the works of 3 of India’s finest actors Rishi Kapoor, Irrfan Khan, and Sushant Singh Rajput, all of whom sadly passed away this year.

“‘Together’ is the theme of the 2020 IFFM Short Film Festival Competition which this year received a remarkable and unprecedented 3000+ entries indicating people’s creativity during the lockdown. A selection of the best films submitted is available for viewing during the Festival and the winner will be announced.

The winning film is being judged by Varun Sharma, our 2011 Short Film Competition. This year, Varun is making his directorial debut with the feature film BUNTY AUR BUBLI 2, starring Rani Mukherji and Saif Khan. We are hugely proud,” says Mitu Bhowmick Lange.

The festival is being supported by the Victoria Government/Film Victoria, City of Melbourne, BlackMagic, Mental Health Foundation of Australia, Singapore Airlines, G’Day India, South Asia Times (SAT), Civic Outdoor, IndusAge, RRR, and Radio Hanji.

Full festival information can be accessed at – iffm.com.au

Facebook – @IndianFilmFestivalOfMelbourne @FilmVic @MBFWorld
Twitter – @iffmelbourne @FilmVictoria @MBFWorld
Instagram – @IFFMelb @FilmVic

Feminism is my worldview, I love writing also: Malayalam Director Anjali Menon


By Neeraj Nanda

MELBOURNE, 12 September: “It’s a part of who I am. It emerges. That’s my worldview.” says Anjali Menon, India’s National Award-winning Malayalam film Director Anjali Menon. She was answering to a question about her being a feminist at an IFFM Film Club interview cum interaction organized by the IFFM-2020 today.

Anjali Menon’s directional ventures include Kerala Café (2009), Manjadikuru (2012), Ustad Hotel (2012- Scriptwriter only), Bangalore Days (2014) among others. The grown-up in the UAE, a graduate of the London Film School, she lives in Bangalore.

Answering to a question about her blogs and short stories by South Asia Times (SAT), Anjali said, “I am a lazy writer but enjoy writing. It’s a question of word counts and a lot to learn. It’s a rich process to project one’s worldview.

It’s my great aspiration to write more and more.”


Replying to Rajeev Masand’s question about women in direction, she says, “The film industry is not the most representative in this regard. The perception they working there is negative.

A study on five film industries has been done on this subject and we know discrimination exists.

Also, once money comes gender goes away, but one has to see how women work. If you have to swim against the current, then you have to be a good swimmer.”

About her bias for family subjects she says, “The family is the molecule of society. It’s great playing ground. From within, I like family subjects.

Even dysfunctional families as a subject are more interesting.”

She answered many questions from Rajeev Masand and the participants. A few points that emerged:

- I am much more concerned about the subject;
- Hindi mainstream cinema is differently made but happy to work in Hindi;
- Streaming of movies has made them more accessible & regional movies have space.

The IFFM Film Club interaction with Anjali Menon saw more than 100 people participating including the Malayali diaspora in Australia. Big participation from other communities and cinema lovers gave the Zoom event a big boost to the popularity of the International Film Festival of India -2020 in its virtual presentation.

For more info- iffm.com.au

Mitu Bhowmick joins Natalie Miller Fellowship

Mitu Bhowmick Lange (File photo)

By SAT News Desk

MELBOURNE, 29 February 2020: Natalie Miller Fellowship (NMF) recently announced the appointment of Mitu Bhowmick to the NMF committee. The Melbourne-based role will see Bhowmick join existing committee members Sue Maslin AO, Sandra Sdraulig AM, Julia Adams, Aida Innocente, Heather Webb, Stephanie Mills, Cheryl Mulholland, Fiona Nix, Heather Scott, Cate Smith, Michael Smith, and Kimberly Summer.

The Natalie Miller Fellowship is about recognizing and nurturing the next generation of female leaders in the Australian screen community and inspiring them to reach the very top of their fields.

The NMF aims to equip our future female leaders with the skills, knowledge, and insight to take on bigger and more challenging opportunities. The NMF awards a fellowship grant of up to $20,000 to a woman working in the industry to help further her professional development through educational programs such as internships, attachments or secondments.

Mitu started her career directing television shows in Bombay for major channels before she migrated to Australian in 2002. Continuing her career progression, she became an in-line producer on major Bollywood productions shot in Victoria, as well as producing blockbusters filmed in across the country. In 2010, Mitu filled the much-needed demand for Indian content in Australia by founding the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne. Still going strong, the festival brings the best of Bollywood, documentary, shorts, and drama from regions across India and Asia, with a strong emphasis on diverse storytelling.

Mitu continues to focus on showcasing the best of Indian cinema to hungry Australian audiences as well as being a proactive and inspiring woman-of-color in the Australian Screen Industry. Mitu is also the founder and director of Mind Blowing Films – the leading distributor of Indian films in Australia, NZ, and Fiji, releasing over 42 films a year. She is also the founder and Director of the iconic Indian Film Festival of Melbourne.

Rishi Kapoor among top film biggies to grace IFFM-2016

Hirthik Roshan in Dir. Ashutosh Gowariker’s ‘Mohenjo Daro’ to be premiered at the IFFM-2016

By Neeraj Nanda

Melbourne, 20 June: The Indian Film Festival of Melbourne – 2016 (IFFM-2016) is all set to rock the most livable city in the world. A line-up of top Bollywood, subcontinent and local film biggies including Chief Guest Rishi Kapoor are expected to spice up Melbourne with their presence. The August 11 – 21, 2016 festival’s theme this year is – Woman’s Empowerment.

The Opening Night movie will be Director Leena Yadav’s ‘Parched’, a contemporary melodrama, presents a portrait of gender inequality, and a stirring portrait of liberation in an isolated North-Indian village. The Closing Night film ‘Angry Indian Goddesses’ directed by Pan Nalin is a celebration of girl power at a weekend of merrymaking involving bride-to-be Freida and her gang in Goa.

Addressing the media at the festival launch, Festival CEO, Mitu Bhowmick said, one highlight of the festival will be a retrospective of Rishi Kapoor movies with his hits Bobby, Rafu Chakkar and Karz hitting the silver screen.”

“Under Masterstrokes there will be three films from Pakistan – Journey of Thousand Miles: Peacemakers, Saving Face and the Oscar winning A Girl in The River, she said.

“Further program highlights include the world premiere of Ashutosh Gowariker’s epic adventure-romance Mohenjo Daro starring Hrithik Roshan and Pooja Hedge in the lead roles, set in the ancient city of Mohenjo-daro in the era of the Indus Valley civilisation; and the Australian premiere of Anu Menon’s comedy drama Waiting, about the relationship between two people from very different walks of life who befriend one another in hospital,” says the festival media release.

Celebrity guests in attendance will be Rishi Kapoor, Vidya Balan, Riruparna Sengupta, Leena Yadav, Radhika Apte, Rajeev Masand, Sarah Haider, Shalmali Kholgade, Srjit Mukherjee, Malika Arora Khan, Rich Chadda and Amrinder Gill among others.

Over 50 films in 17 different languages from India and the subcontinent will be there for Melbourne audiences. Two locally made movies The Hidden Truth and The Colour of Darkness will rub shoulders with box office hits and festival favourites.

Key events of the festival will be Opening Night, Westpac IFFM Awards Night, Indian flag hoisting (by Rishi Kapoor at Fed Sq. on Aug 13 at 11 am), Bollywood Dance Competition, Rajeev Masand round table, Richa Chadda on Bollywood & Body Positivity, Panel discussion on cinema for social change, In conversation with Rishi Kapoor, Charity Initiave Launch, Q&A with Vidya Balan and Closing Night.

The IFFM was established in 2012 as an initiative of the Victorian Government and has been an iconic status here and the world over.

For all info : www.iffm.com.au

- SAT News Service.

Tamil film star Vijay to skip Melb. film fest after injury during shooting

By Neeraj Nanda

Melbourne: Tamil screen legend Vijay will not be able to make it to the Indian Film Festival Melbourne starting Monday June 11. A media release of the festival says Vijay injured himself on the set of his new film ‘Thuppaki’ and had to be rushed to London for medical attention. All tickets to NANBAN special screening which was to be introduced by Vijay can be reimbursed by Hoyts box office or online.
Talking to SAT, Indian Film Festival of Melbourne Director Mitu Bhowmick Lange said “Although we are very disappointed, we of course understand and wish Vijay a speedy recovery”.
- SAT News Service.