Manoj Bajpayee, Rani Mukerji and Sanju were winners at the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne 2018. Rajkumar Hirani’s Sanju walked away with the Best Film honour the Westpac IFFM Awards night whereas Manoj Bajpayee won the Best Actor for his yet-to-release Gali Guleiyan. On the other hand, Rani Mukerji was named Best Actress for her performance in Hichki.
Rani, who impressed everyone with her performance in Hichki, walked away with two honours at the IFFM as she was also bestowed an Excellence In Cinema award. Veteran actress Simi Garewal, looking elegant as ever in her trademark pristine white, gave away the honour to Rani, who has been a part of the film industry for over two decades.
Overwhelmed by the honour, Rani thanked her fans world over for loving her and her work through the years. Hirani won the Best Director for Sanju, a biopic on the life of Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt, while the IFFM Vanguard Award went to actor Ranbir Kapoor for his “breakthrough performance” in bringing alive Sanjay’s tumultuous life journey on-screen. The director said that he is happy with the recognition for the movie and is excited about showcasing the movie at La Trobe University here, with Sanju co-writer Abhijat Joshi and actor Vicky Kaushal.
Vicky won the supporting actor honour for his well-deserved performance as Kamli in Sanju, and Richa Chadha won it too as she won the jury’s heart with her power-packed role as a brothel owner in Love Sonia. The jury members for the fest, launched by Mitu Bhowmick Lange, comprised Simi Garewal, Sue Maslin, Jill Bilcock, Nikkhil Advani and Geoffrey Wright. Wright, known for the Russell Crowe-starrer Romper Stomper, said that he was mighty impressed by the variety that Indian cinema currently has on offer. He said he feels that “perhaps it has gone from recreation to being serious cinema”.
India’s colourful and diverse culture was very much a part of the awards celebration as there were the beats of the dhol, performers dressed in traditional Indian classical attires, Odissi dance, Bhangra and more. Composers Sachin-Jigar added the chutzpah with some of their Bollywood tracks. The inclusion-themed ninth edition of the gala gave a Diversity Award to Freida Pinto, who shot to fame and prominence first with her role in Oscar-winning drama Slumdog Millionaire. In her upcoming film Love Sonia, Freida is seen in a never-seen-before avatar.