Popular actors from the country including Vidya Balan and Manoj Bajpayee won the top honours at the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne (IFFM) 2021, today, in a ceremony that was held virtually.
IFFM honoured Pankaj Tripathi with the Prestigious Diversity in Cinema. Tamil-language film ‘Soorarai Pottru’ won the Best Feature Film and actor Suriya won the Best Actor award for his performance in the same film.
"I’m sure all the nominees have given their best. This film is very special. This is the first award I’m getting for this film. This is one of the first films that came to me during the pandemic. Thanks to all the fans who have given us so much love," he said after accepting the award.
Meanwhile actor Vidya Balan won the Best Actress for her widely acclaimed film ‘Sherni’.
"I’m thrilled to be receiving the award for ‘Sherni’ which was shot during the pandemic. Thanks to my director Amit Masurkar, my producer Abundantia- who pulled all stops to make this film during these uncertain times," said Balan.
Ace filmmaker Anurag Basu picks up the Best Director trophy for the feature film Ludo.
“Humbling to be part of the nominees and to be winning the best director. Thankful to Netflix and T-Series. My actors were amazing to stand by me. Such amazing people, my crew, my actors. Such a crazy bunch of people. This award shows us that despite all the situation we are in, shows that cinema will continue to be celebrated,” said Basu.
Amazon Prime Video’s series ‘Mirzapur’ walked away with the Best Series Award, while Manoj Bajpayee and Samantha Akkineni won the Best Actor and Actress In a series, respectively for their roles in the second season of ‘The Family Man’.
“Thank you to all the jury members for honouring me. I must mention - cinema or series - are both highly collaborative. It’s Highly embarrassing for me to take away the award to myself without mentioning everyone involved. Amazon, Raj, and DK, but it’s the writers for the series that make a lot of difference. It’s that team of writers, so thank you to them for giving me the space to become this character. The last time I was at this festival I took the Best Actor award for ‘Gali Guleiyan’ and I’m grateful to the festival," said Bajpayee.
On winning Best Actress in a series, Samantha Akkineni said, "First time at this festival. To be here amongst such immense talent. I’m grateful and it’s such a huge honour. Thanks to Raj and DK to see past the cute girl image I have and to give me this role which is so different from what I have done so far. To give me this character that has so many layers and such diverse parts to it. It’s my big dive into OTT and what an amazing show to do it with."
This year’s festival boasted an impressive line-up of feature and short films from across the cinemas of India. Representing the theme of Diversity through Cinema, IFFM had an overwhelming response from across the globe.
The festival was attended by popular Indian artistes and filmmakers such as Anurag Kashyap, Shoojit Sircar, Thiagarajan Kumararaja and Sriram Raghavan were amongst the presenters. Also present were the jury members including Richa Chadha, Guneet Monga, Onir, Australian filmmaker Geoffrey Wright and the Oscar-nominated editor Jill Bilcock.
Speaking about the winners, the festival’s director Mitu Bhowmick Lange, says, “We congratulate all the winners and their teams for making great films that were loved by the audiences across the globe. It is about time that we have conversations in cinema and about cinema that are not mainstream and biased. It is time to present the diverse sensibilities through narratives that are ground-breaking and all the winners of the IFFM awards symbolize this fervour of thought.”
Here’s a complete list of winners:
Best Feature Film - 'Soorarai Pottru'
Best Performance Male (Feature) - Suriya Sivakumar ('Soorarai Pottru')
Best Performance Female (Feature) - Vidya Balan ('Sherni') and Honourable mention to Nimisha Sajayan ('The Great Indian Kitchen')
Best Director - Anurag Basu ('Ludo') and Honorary Mention Prithvi Konanur ('Pinki Elli?')
Best Series - 'Mirzapur' Season 2
Best Actress in a Series - Samantha Akkineni ('The Family Man 2')
Best Actor in a Series - Manoj Bajpayee ('The Family Man 2')
Equality in Cinema (Short Film) - 'Sheer Qorma'
Equality in Cinema Award (Feature Film) - 'The Great Indian Kitchen'
Best Indie Film - 'Fire in the Mountains'
Diversity in Cinema Award - Pankaj Tripathi
Disruptor Award - Sanal Kumar Sasidharan
Best Documentary Film – 'Shut Up Sona'