Shefali Shah, Jaideep Ahlawat, and Avinash Arun Dhaware emerged as winners at the 2023 New York Indian Film Festival (NYIFF), which celebrated and showcased new Indian cinema to the diaspora and global audience. The festival, which took place from May 11 to 14, featured an impressive lineup of 35 films, including dramas, documentaries, and short films, highlighting the depth and range of contemporary Indian cinema.
The highly acclaimed film “Saudi Vellakka” was honored with the Best Film award, while Avinash Arun Dhaware received the Best Director award for his critically acclaimed film “Three of Us,” featuring Shefali Shah, Jaideep Ahlawat, and Swanand Kirkire.
Shah and Ahlawat were recognized with the Best Actress and Best Actor awards, respectively, for their exceptional performances in “Three of Us,” which also served as the opening film of the festival. The closing film of the extravaganza was “Goldfish,” starring Deepti Naval and Kalki Koechlin.
Other notable winners included “Follower” for Best Screenplay, “To Kill a Tiger” for Best Documentary (Short & Feature), “Birah” for Best Short (Narrative), and Leslie Shampaine, who received the prestigious Best Documentary by a Woman award for “Call Me Dancer.” “Footprints On Water,” featuring Adil Hussain, was declared the Best Debut Film at NYIFF.
One of the highlights of this year’s festival, known as North America’s longest-running and most prestigious Indian film festival, was a special screening of Rahul Chittella’s critically praised film “Gulmohar.” The screening was attended by cinema veterans Sharmila Tagore and Amol Palekar, along with renowned actors Manoj Bajpayee and Simran. Following the screening, a Q&A session was moderated by NYIFF festival director Aseem Chhabra, featuring the film’s team.