Vidya Balan's Natkhat and Marathi film Habbadi to open Indian Film Festival of Melbourne 2020
Indian Film Festival of Melbourne will be held virtually this year from October 23 to 30. Vidya Balan's Natkhat and Marathi film Habaddi will open the festival.
The Indian Film Festival of Melbourne, which is hosted in August annually, will be held virtually this year from October 23 to 30. While earlier, the festival director Mitu Bhowmick Lange had hoped to do a compact schedule at the original venue, it will be conducted online instead because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Vidya Balan's Natkhat and Marathi film Habaddi will open the festival this year.
All the popular sections of the festival namely Hurrah Bollywood, Beyond Bollywood, Film India World, Documentaries and Shorts are expected to be on the schedule. Interestingly, the festival's short film competition section this year made a record number of entries.
Opening the virtual festival is the Vidya Balan-starrer Natkhat, which marks the actress' production debut as well. The film is a confronting story of a mother teaching her young son about gender equality and calls out toxic misogyny. Natkhat premiered on Youtube as part of the prestigious We are One: A Global Film Festival, and will now screen at IFFM. Marathi film Habbadi, which traces the story of a young boy with a speech impediment, is the second film which will open IFFM this year along with Natkhat.
Talking about the festival, Mitu Bhowmick Lange said in a statement, "It's an unusual time that the world is going through and now more than ever before, cinema has been people's support system and respite through fairly dark times. IFFM stands strong in its spirit to entertain movie buffs across the world and hope that we heal a little together."
Plans for the awards gala are also being reworked to fit into the rules in the post-pandemic era. Apart from the usual sections, the festival will continue to host virtual masterclasses that will be open for registration to the festival goers and will accommodate 100 early bird users to the talk.
Amongst the festival's highlights this year is a crucial tie up with the Mental Health Foundation. As the world battled the pandemic bravely, there has been an increasing emphasis on the importance of mental health world over. The patrons of the festival can donate to the MHF and all proceeds from the Festival will be directed to the foundation.
The Indian Film Festival of Melbourne will offer over 60 films in 17 languages this year.