Tag: Vasan Srinivasan

IFFM-2020 opens with films addressing disability & gender equality


By SAT News Desk

MELBOURNE, 20 October 2020: The 11th International Film Festival of Melbourne (IFFM), online this year will open with Vidya Balan’s Natkhat and Nachiket Samant Habadd in Marathi. The two movies can be streamed free on 23 October 2020 at iffm.com.au.The festival which will go on till 30th October will stream over 50 films in 17 languages, including 34 International Premieres and 56 Australian Premieres, available to audiences across Australia.

IFFM Festival Director, Mitu Bhowmick Lange: “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 MHF when booking.

Chairperson, Vasan Srinivasan said: “The world of cinema is one that can bring joy. Sometimes sitting down and watching a film, is a great way to practice self-care and promote mental wellbeing. This is what the Mental Health Foundation Australia is all about. Cinema has the power to unite, and I wish the IFFM team all the very best in their
venture to do so.’’

The Minister for Creative Industries Danny Pearson said: “The Victorian Government is proud to support the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne. Each year the festival showcases the breadth and depth of Indian cinema and gives a platform for new talent through the short film competition. This year the festival is taking the celebrations to a new level, opening up access to film lovers across the country through this incredible – and free – online program.”

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 bed’me story.

The delightful feature HABADDI focuses on Kabaddi a popular contact sport in Southern Asia that first originated in Ancient India. 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?

To view the Festival program, and for booking guidelines go to – Iffm.com.au

Fostering resilience in daily life during the COVID-19 pandemic


By Vasan Srinivasan*

MELBOURNE, 10 September: Resilience is the term used to describe a set of qualities that foster a process of successful adaptation and transformation when facing adversity. We are all born with an innate capacity for resilience. We all have it in us to display resilience. As humans, we can foster this innate capacity by developing five characteristics: social competence, problem-solving skills, critical consciousness, autonomy and sense of purpose:

-Social competence includes qualities such as responsiveness, being able to elicit positive responses from others, flexibility, empathy and communication skills

-Problem-solving skills pertain to the ability to plan, to think abstractly, to be reflective and to be resourceful

-Critical consciousness is the ability to develop awareness of adversity and to create strategies to overcome any adversity faced

- Autonomy is having sense of identity and having an ability to exercise control over one’s environment

- Sense of Purpose refers to goal setting, hopefulness and motivation.

These five aspects are the main ingredients in a recipe for fostering resilience. Another concept that ties closely is optimism. There is a growing body of research to suggest that attitude has an influence on mental health. In other words, it has been revealed that individuals with an optimistic perspective on life generally are more positive and are less likely to experience mental health struggles. Additionally, optimistic individuals tend to be calmer, generally happier and more resilient people.

In addition to the five innate capabilities an individual has to foster resilience, there are protective external factors or processes that can increase the capability of an individual to be resilient. These can be sorted into three major categories: caring and supportive relationships, positive expectations and opportunities for meaning participation and development.

Having caring and supportive relationships is a protective factor against many mental health issues that may arise. Having supportive individuals around you who convey an attitude of compassion, goodwill and understanding is something that can aid in building resilience. As social beings, our relationships and connections can take many forms. Support networks for many people include family, friends, colleagues, neighbours, social media groups and local community members. There is great power in having a good support network, especially when it comes to fostering resilience.

Positive expectations and high motivation are very important in building resilience. Greatly resilient individuals have tremendous motivation to get themselves out of a situation of adversity. They set positive expectations for themselves and work toward displaying resilience. However, it is important for these expectations to be structured and realistic. It is also helpful for individuals to engage in self-reflection and positive self-talk — all things that are important in fostering resilience.

Having opportunities for meaningful participation and development relates to individuals placing themselves in situations where they feel their presence is valued. This can be in family situations, work settings, with friends etc. Individuals who entertain their time in situations where they feel welcome and where they feel their ideas are welcome are much more likely to display resilience. This is in contrast to individuals who places themselves in situations where they do not feel empowered and allow themselves to be oppressed. Realising self-worth and individual capabilities is vital in bouncing back from hardship.

Having effective tools to exhibit resilience are especially important in times of crises, such as the current COVID-19 pandemic. I present you with four approaches that can be helpful in these challenging times:

-Acceptance: The first step to being more resilient during this time is to accept. Accept that it is okay to feel stressed and challenged by the current situation. Accept and acknowledge you are feeling a certain way and positively work on strategies to allow yourself to recover. I encourage those struggling to call the MHFA’s National Mental Health Helpline (1300 MHF AUS (643 287)) and learn more about the many options you have to become more resilient individuals.

-Awareness. Being aware relates to being fully present in a situation. It is easy to get caught up in your thoughts and feelings. Being aware can help you make clear and well-informed decisions. A way to feel more present is to engage your five senses. Look around you and look for five things you can see, smell, hear, taste and touch.
- Activeness. The benefits of physical activity are very well researched. Remaining active during periods of stress is an excellent way to relieve that stress and feel calmer. If you are feeling confused, take a walk or go for a run. After you have engaged in physical activity, your mind may be less clouded and more able to make decisions.

-Connectiveness. Stay connected with those in your life. Check up on your family and friends through phone calls, video chats, email etc. You can make a great difference in someone’s life and in your life through maintaining social cohesion. Embracing community spirit is something every Australian should be doing during this time.
Resilience is something every individual can foster within themselves. It is about realising this and using tools to undergo this process of becoming more resilient. If each individual works on building their resilience, Australians will see the other end of this pandemic and any other adversity faced in their lives, stronger than before.

* Chairperson, MHFA.

MHFA team’s lockdown meals rock Melbourne


By Neeraj Nanda

MELBOURNE, 19 August 2020: We are in the second phase of the pandemic here and it’s been tougher for people who are socially and economically vulnerable. Stage-4 restrictions are in place as the world’s most livable city waits for the grand old normal days to stage a comeback. Till then people need to be helped at many levels and it’s rocking with planned hard work.

Dedicated volunteers of the Mental Health Foundation Of Australia (MHFA) led by Chairperson Vasan Srinivasan have been hitting the roads with cooked food packets for more than the last two weeks. ” We distribute about 600 packets each day and this has been going on for the last 15 days, ” Vasan tells SAT. That makes it about 9,000 people who have been helped with food during the current restrictions.


So, how is this stuff distributed? The food is cooked in sponsored kitchens, packed, and loaded into a van and taken to centers run by the Salvation Army, My Centre (Broadmeadows), Neighborhood House (Collinwood), Neighbourhood House (Richmond) and to international students wherever necessary.

The groceries come as donations from the community and the van has been sponsored by Foot Solutions. The kitchen is sponsored by Paramjit Jaiswal and volunteers keep joining the work as needed. Vasan happily says, ” The response is very good and there is no dearth of phone inquiries daily.”

The enthusiasm for this voluntary work is great in the rather unusual days. But, Mr. Vasan says, he is sad at the Victorian Government not helping them as it helps the Beyond Blue with millions. We get only $ 81,000 per year.”


All photos- MHFA

Thomas Joseph is new FIAV President

Photo: SAT/NN

By Neeraj Nanda
Ballarat, 24 Aug: Mr. Thomas Joseph was today elected President of the Federation of Indian Associations of Victoria (FIAV) at the AGM held here. He is from the La Trobe Indian Association. The outgoing President Mr. Vasan Srinivasan, who led the Indian umbrella organisation in Victoria for five years, will remain member of the FIAV Trust along with four others.
The outgoing President detailed the activities of the FIAV and explained the plan to setup an aged care facility near Dandenong. The 60 beds Indian specific aged facility is likely to cost around $ 16 million. The announcement of the facility and its funding plans are likely to be announced before the November elections in Victoria, Mr. Vasan said.
He also explained the recent opening of the Indian Museum at Little India, Dandenong and its expansion plans.
The newly elected President Thomas Joseph pledged to expand FIAV work and unite the Indian community towards common goals.
The following were elected office bearers of the Federation of Indian Associations of Victoria (FIAV) at the AGM held at Ballarat:
President: Thomas Joseph; 2 Vice Presidents – Sharad Gupta & Sudesh Singh; Secretary – Jitender Kumar; Treasurer – Ambrish Deshmukh; Surya P. Soni & Supriya were elected to 2 other posts.
Co-opted members – Usha (Editorial), Goldy Barar(Youth & Sports), Kazween(Woman’s Affairs), Vernon(Membership), Mokika Raizada(Events), Usha (Seniors Affairs) & Krishna Arora (Catering). They will head the respective subcommittees.


- SAT News Service.