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A galaxy of stars including Freida Pinto, Rani Mukerji, Vicky Kaushal, Ram Charan, Richa Chadha, RajKumar Hirani, Ali Fazal, Simi Grewal and Malaika Arora will attend this year's Indian Film Festival of Melbourne (IFFM) to be held from August 10 to 22.
Announcing the details of the fest, the IFFM director Mitu Bhowmick Lange said this year the festival will screen over 60 movies in 22 languages during the 12 day long program with Tabrez Noorani's film "Love Sonia" as its opening night film.
" 'Love Sonia' is a relevant film for the festival which is on the theme of inclusion,'' Lange said adding that Pinto, Chadha, Mrunal Thaku and Noorani will be present on the night.
This year the festival will honour Shashi kapoor and Sridevi, the two loved actors of Bollywood who passed away recently, by holding special screenings of their two iconic films Siddhartha and Chandni.
This year's competition section of the festival will have six categories where 12 filmmakers including Rajkumar Hirani, Shoojit Sircar, Meghna Gulzar, R Balki, Rima Das, Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Suresh Triveni will battle in the best director award segment.
Eight films including Sanju, Raazi, Padman, Padmavat, Secret Superstar, Hichki and Mahanti will compete in the best film categories while Ranbir Kapoor, Akshay Kumar, Varun Dhawan, Ranveer Singh, Shahid kapoor, Soumitra Chatterjee, Manoj Bajpayee and Fahad Faasil will contest in best actor category.
Rani, Vidya Balan, Deepika Padukone, Alia Bhatt, Zaira Wasim, Bhanita Das, Keerthy Suresh and Tillotama Shome have been nominated for the best actress award while Vicky Kaushal, Ranvir Shorey, Pinto, Meher Vij, Chadha, Trimala Adhikari and Samantha Akkineni have been nominated in the newly incepted category of best supporting performance.
Seven films - "Gali Galiya", "Village Rockstars", "Sir", "Balekempa", "Up, Down and Sideways", "Mayurkashi" and "Garbage" will compete for the best indie film award.
Apart from this, two Assamese films "Ishu" and "Village Rockstars", Malyalam film "The Summer of Miracles" and the Hindi film "The Cake Story" will have their Australian premiers in the Childrens' film section along with other premiers.
As its annual feature, the festival will also celebrate Indian independence day on August 11 at the Melbourne's iconic Federation square building with Rani hoisting the Indian flag.
Flag hoisting ceremony will be followed by its popular annual Bollywood dance contest which awards local dancing talents from Australia.
The fest will hold masterclasses, panel discussions on cinema and conversations with guests stars including Hirani, Ram Charan and Rani.