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
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