Celebrating its tenth anniversary this year, the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne (IFFM) is taking place from 8-17 August. Over the last decade the Festival has grown from a grassroots event to the largest Indian Film Festival in the Southern hemisphere, winning a number of awards and working closely with the Victorian government, who have strongly supported its growth. The 2019 Festival theme is ‘courage’, a central tenet that reflects the growing inclusivity and diversity of the Indian film industry.
The very special guest of this year’s annual celebration of Indian films is Indian actor and superstar Shah Rukh Khan. “King Khan”, as he’s admirably referred to globally, will be attending the IFFM Awards on 8 August and officially opening the Festival on 9 August along with other special Festival guests, and Festival Director Mitu Bhowmick Lange.
Shah Rukh Khan has appeared in more than 80 Bollywood films, and earned numerous accolades, including 14 Filmfare Awards (more than any other actor). For his contributions to film, the Government of India honoured him with the Padma Shri, and the Government of France awarded him both the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and the Légion d’honneur. Khan has a significant following in Asia and the Indian diaspora worldwide. In terms of audience size and income, he has been described as one of the most successful film stars in the world.
Speaking on being appointed as the chief guest for the festival, Shah Rukh Khan, said, “I’m honoured and delighted to accept the invitation from the Victorian government and the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne to open their festival as their chief guest. An industry of our magnitude and diversity deserves to be celebrated with great passion and fervour, which is what the festival embodies. I’m particularly pleased with the theme of the festival this year which is courage, an emotion that resonates with storytellers who really have the might to change the society and the world. I have had great memories of shooting for Chak De India in Melbourne and look forward to being back again, this time to celebrate Indian cinema”.
Announcing the news, the Victorian Premier, the Honourable Daniel Andrews said: “The Indian Film Festival of Melbourne is a much-loved event that celebrates the strong relationship between Victoria and India and our own vibrant Indian community. This event has grown significantly over the past decade and with the extraordinary Shah Rukh Khan here, this year’s festival is shaping up to be the biggest and most exciting yet.”
Minister for Creative Industries Martin Foley said: “A celebration of film, community and culture, the Indian Film Festival puts Melbourne in the spotlight and attracts more than 35,000 people each year. The Bollywood and Indian film industry is the biggest in the world and in addition to supporting this festival, we’ve announced a new Bollywood and Indian Cinema Attraction Fund to bring more film productions from India and the subcontinent to Victoria. Perhaps we’ll even lure Shah Rukh back to our shores again!”
Festival Director, Mitu Bhowmick Lange said, “We are so elated with the news of Mr. Khan joining us to be our chief guest. He’s truly an icon of Indian cinema internationally, a person millions follow and look up to. The Indian Film Festival of Melbourne has always strived to bring the best Indian cinema here in Melbourne and bridge a gap between the fans and the actors whom people love and admire. We are looking forward to hosting Mr. Khan in Melbourne.”
The Indian Film Festival of Melbourne is the southern hemisphere’s greatest annual celebration of Indian cinema. Established in 2010, and re-branded as IFFM in 2012 as an initiative of the Victorian Government, it is recognised as an important feature of the State’s cultural calendar. In 2016, the festival was honoured with the much respected Melbourne Award for contribution in Multiculturalism. IFFM is proudly supported by the Victorian Government via Film Victoria – principal partner of the festival.
The 2019 Indian Film Festival of Melbourne takes place from 8 August – 17 August.