The Indian Film Festival of Melbourne kickstarted their 10th year celebrations with a grand opening press conference that took place this morning in Melbourne.
Taking charge of the event, Mitu Bhowmick Lange, director of the festival introduced the programs of the festival. Given that the list includes names like Shahrukh Khan, Karan Johar and Tabu, none of who require an introduction, the excitement in the air was palpable.
Khan, the guest of honour at the festival was received with great love by the audience. In his trademark charm, he quipped, "Many years ago in 2006-07, I came here when I was a rising superstar giving hit films after hit films. And now I am back here again, still a rising superstar not making as many hit films (chuckles), as much as I would want to do so. I thank everyone for the opportunity to speak here. It's heartening that because of the Indian diaspora - the second generation of Indians here (people like Mitu), Indian cinema is getting noticed. It's extremely gratifying and makes every Indian proud. I speak for everyone on the dias today, that we are happy to be here."
Witty and sharp as always, Khan's energy was matched by long-time collaborator and dear friend KJo. Karan said, "It's not the films but the people behind the festival who make it what it is. When I see this fantastic panel and we say the theme is courage, I say the panel is reflective of the glorious courage of our films and changing face of Indian cinema. It represents three feature films that have changed the way we look at Indian cinema and how it has travelled across the globe and will continue to do so. There is Super Deluxe, Andhadhun and Gully Boy.
All of these have appealed not only to the diaspora but to international audiences across the globe, making Indian cinema so proud. And what to say about Shah Rukh Khan, he fully represents superstardom. I firmly believe, in the era we belonged to, the term is understood because of him. It's not just about his large heart but his tremendous presence and aura. The fact that he is an outstanding actor is (the) hugest icing on the cake."
Also in attendance were Zoya Akhtar, Rima Das, Arjun Kapoor, Vijay Sethupathi, Gayathrie, Tabu and filmmaker Sriram Raghavan who are screening last year's biggest hit Andhadhun.