‘Soorarai Pottru,’ Suriya and Vidya Balan bag top honours at Indian Film Festival of Melbourne 2021

Pankaj Tripathi, Manoj Bajpayee and Samantha Akkineni were some of the other winners at the 12th edition of the festival

The Indian Film Festival of Melbourne (IFFM) announced today its winners for its 12th edition, which was held virtually. This year’s festival had a line-up of feature and short films from across India, representing the theme of diversity through cinema.

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Personalities from the Indian film fraternity like Anurag Kashyap, Shoojit Sircar, Thiagarajan Kumararaja, Sriram Raghavan were amongst the presenters. Also present were jury members including Richa Chadha, Guneet Monga, Onir, Australian filmmaker Geoffrey Wright and Oscar-nominated editor Jill Bilcock.

IFFM honored Pankaj Tripathi with the Diversity in Cinema Award presented by LaTrobe University. Tamil film Soorarai Pottru walked away with the Best Feature Film and Suriya won the Best Actor award for the same project. Vidya Balan won the Best Actress for Sherni, while Mirzapur was given the Best Series Award. Filmmaker Anurag Basu picked up the Best Director trophy for the feature film Ludo. Manoj Bajpayee and Samantha Akkineni won awards for their roles in season two of Family Man as well. Malayalam film The Great Indian Kitchen was also recognised.

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.”

Suriya, on his part thanked his fans and Soorarai Pottru director Sudha Kongara, saying, “I’m sure all the nominees have given their best. This film is very special, and this is the first award I’m getting for this film. Thanks to all the fans who have given us so much love. In my career, I felt bored with what I was doing after having worked for 20 years. So thanks to my director Sudha — this film was her 10 years dream — she worked four years on writing or his film. The character of Maara will not be anything without her. I couldn’t ask for more.”

Vidya Balan said she was thrilled to be receiving the award for Sherni, which was shot during the pandemic, “Thanks to my director Amit Masurkar and my producer Abundantia, who pulled out all the stops to make this film during these uncertain times.”

On winning the Diversity in Cinema Award, Pankaj Tripathi said, “This award is special for me, I’m humbled and it’s really inspiring for me, my craft. The man who is here to give me this award, he is the one who discovered my talent. So thanks to Anurag Kashyap sir. He is the one who rediscovered my talent. I’m grateful to all my directors, writers for having me part of their projects.”

The full list of winners at Indian Film Festival of Melbourne 2021:

Best Feature Film – Soorarai Pottru

Best Performance Male (Feature) – Suriya Sivakumar (Soorarai Pottru)

Best Performance Female (Feature) – Vidya Balan (Sherni) & Honourable mention to Nimisha Sajayan (The Great Indian Kitchen)

Best Director – Anurag Basu (Ludo) & 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

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