Indian Film Festival 2011 highlights

Opening March 11, more than 30 films, including 15 Australian premieres will be featured at this year's Indian Film Festival.

Opening March 11, more than 30 films, including 15 Australian premieres will be featured at this year's Indian Film Festival.

AFTER an amazing first year, the Indian Film Festival returns in 2011 with extra bling to celebrate and showcase the best of Indian cinema on and off-screen.

The festival promises to be a star-studded event as organisers bring in some of the biggest names in Bollywood and beyond.

To get an idea of the scale organisers have in mind for this year, there are the likes of the Kate Winslet and Elle Macpherson of India in attendance at the festival, including multi-award winning actress Vidya Balan (No One Killed Jessica), televsion presenter, pop-star and actress Malaika Arora Khan (Dabangg); as well as Pakistan’s prince of pop Ali Zafar (even Madonna didn’t work for both Pepsi and Coke) who stars in Tere Bin Laden.

Festival guests, from left, Malaika Arora Khan, Vidya Balan and Ali Zafar.

Festival guests, from left, Malaika Arora Khan, Vidya Balan and Ali Zafar.

Other special guests to grace the event this year are actor/producer Juhi Chawla and directors Kabir Khan (Kabul Express), Raj Kumar Gupta (Aamir), Leslee Udwin (East is East), Ornirban ‘Onir’ Dhar (My Brother… Nikhil), and actor turned producer Arbaaz Khan, who will be in Melbourne to present their films and talk about their careers in the film industry.

Those who’d like to get in on some of the Bollywood action can take part in the Bollywood dance competition and the Bollywood dance Guinness Book of World Records attempt, and it promises to be fun, fun fun (just take a look at the dance routine below)! The target is to rally 3000 people to take part in a three-minute Bollywood dance routine at the Moomba Cultural Quarter on the banks of the Yarra River.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mvp7LzJBZAc[/youtube]

An Indian film festival wouldn’t be complete without the traditional Bollywood sequins and fantasy of course, but keep an eye out for the contemporary films that tackle some big issues facing Indian modern society.

More than 30 films, including 15 Australian premieres, will be featured in the 10-day line up of events. And don’t miss the free screenings at Federation Square. The series of short films by winners of the IFF Western Union Short Film Competition will also be worth the watch. Open to entrants from India, Australia and New Zealand, the short films this year were based on the theme “dreams”.

Opening night. Dabangg smashed box-office records upon its release, and the film's theme song – performed in the movie by Malaika Arorar Khan – went on to become India’s biggest hit of the year.

Opening night. Dabangg smashed box-office records upon its release, and the film's theme song – performed in the movie by Malaika Arorar Khan – went on to become India’s biggest hit of the year.

The Indian Film Festival kicks off in Melbourne from March 11 through to March 20. There will be free screenings at Federation Square starting 9.30pm on March 12, 16, 17 and 18. All other screenings will take place at Hoyts Melbourne Central. For full program details, visit the Indian Film Festival website.

You may also like to read our interview with Indian Film Festival director Mitu Bhomwick Lange on Bollywood and its discontents.

Meld Magazine has five double-passes to the Indian Film Festival to give away.

The  competition has now closed.


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