AT the unveiling of Melbourne’s Indian Film Festival program, Victoria’s Premier Ted Baillieu says the government is committed to strengthening the state’s ties with India.
VICTORIAN Premier Ted Baillieu last Friday joined Indian film star Vidya Balan and festival director Mitu Bhowmick Lange to unveil the program for this year’s Indian Film Festival.
Mr Baillieu also took the opportunity to affirm the government’s commitment to “strengthening ties between Victoria and India as well as developing a greater mutual understanding of our respective screen industries”.
“We’ve established this festival as a key highlight on Victoria’s cultural and arts calendar as a way of sharing the diversity and breadth of Indian cinema with Victorians,” he said.
Minister for Innovation, Services and Small Business Louise Asher said India had one of the most dynamic film industries in the world and offered exciting opportunities for collaboration.
But in an interview with The Saturday Age, Ms Asher conceded the government also hoped it might play a part in repairing the damage to Victoria’s education industry following the spate of attacks on Indian students in 2009.
The Indian Film Festival this year will feature films from nine languages across India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, including 20 Australian premieres and one world premier.
Some of India’s biggest film stars such as Miss World Priyanka Chopra, Shahid Kapoor and Tamil star Vijay will also be in town for the opening night film Kahaani.
Released in India earlier this year, Kahaani stars festival ambassador Vidya Balan and has already been a huge hit in India.
Festival director Mitu Bhowmick Lange said the festival encompassed the true spirit of the Indian film industry, from mainstream Bollywood blockbusters to the edgy new wave Hindi films and regional gems in Tamil, Bengali, Malayam and other languages.
The festival will screen more than 35 films from all across the Indian subcontinent, with special appearances by Indian superstars who will be present for the screening of their films.
The Indian Film Festival of Melbourne will take place from June 11 to 22 at Hoyts Melbourne Central and Hoyts Chadstone, with free screenings at Federation Square.