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RDB Best Foreign Film in Sydney

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Friday, October 13, 2006
New Delhi (UNI): The accolades for Rang De Basanti continue! After being chosen the Indian entry in the Best Foreign Film category at the Oscars and subsequently being sent in seven other mainline Oscar categories, Rakeysh Mehra's Rang De Basanti has now bagged the Best Film award at the Indian film festival in Sydney, which concluded a couple of days ago. Rang De Basanti was adjudged the best film, from among the several Indian films screened during the fourth edition of the Indian film Festival at Sydney, by an all Australian Jury,'' the director of the film Rakeysh Mehra told UNI here. In doing so, 'Rang De Basanti' beat other contenders including Vishal Bhardwaj's Omkara, Rajkumar Hirani's Lage Raho Munnabhai, Rohan Sippy's Bluffmaster, Apurva Lakhia's Ek Ajnabee, Homi Adjunia's Being Cyrus Priyadarshan's Chup Chup Ke, Karan Johar's Kabhi Alvida na Kehna, Kunal Kohli's Fanaa, Jahnu Barua's Maine Gandhi Ko Nahin Mara and Aparna Sen's 15 Park Avenue, Mehra said.

Rakeysh Mehra, who returned from Sydney this morning after attending the film festival, which began on October 5, said the screening of Rang De Basanti at the event drew an overwhelming response.''What was heartening to note was the fact that most of the people among the jam packed hall screening the movie were Australians and not local Asians. Normally when an Indian film is screened at a film festival abroad, there are more Asians in the audience than locals,'' Mehra said.''The huge response to Rang De Basanti, as also others like Being Cyrus shows that Indian films are finally getting the eyeballs from people outside the Asian community settled abroad.This also means that films with universal theme and content like Omkara and Rang De Basanti are meeting with acceptance from people other than the Asians which is a matter of happiness for Indian cinema in that it signifies a greater potential for them in foreign countries,'' Mehra said.

Mehra said that Being Cyrus, starring Saif Ali Khan, Dimple Kapadia and Naseeruddin Shah evoked tremendous interest from among the Australians during its screening. Also, there was tremendous interest for retrospective of Yash Chopra films screened at the festival. ''The retrospective, which opened with the 70s classic Kabhie Kabhie, was keenly watched by local Australians,'' Mehra said. Mehra said the huge response from Australians to the screening of 'Rang De Basanti' has opened a non-traditional market like Australia for Bollywood film-makers. ''Traditionally, Bollywood films have been released in countries like United Kingdom, United States, Dubai and East Africa. However, the increasing interest level for Indian films in Australia meant that the country could serve as another potential market for Indian films,'' he said.

The lineup at the film festival included more than 20 films ranging from the commercially successful to the critically acclaimed. Says festival Director Mitu Bhowmick Lange,''In 2006 the festival featured the biggest range of Indian cinema we have ever presented - from the most mainstream commercially successful Hindi films to the most experimental and interesting films coming out of India at the moment. It is the most diverse and exciting showcase of Indian Cinema ever in Australia and I am very proud to present this exciting program to Australian audiences.'' Rang De Basanti was last month chosen by the Film Federation of India as India's nominee' for the Best Foreign Film category at the Oscars. Subsequently, the producers UTV decided to enter the film for seven other mainline categories at the prestigious awards.



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