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IFFM2021 program launch promises a cinematic fiesta

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MELBOURNE, 22 July 2021: The show has to go on. The COVID-19 pandemic and frequent lockdowns have not dampened the spirits of the iconic annual Indian Film Festival of Melbourne. This year the festival is premiering two thought-provoking films 'Bittu' by Karishma Dube and 'WOMB-Women of My Billion' by Ajitesh Sharma as a part of its Opening Night Gala. Hosted on August 12, 8 pm onward at Hoyts Melbourne Central, the celebration will be joined by patrons of the festival, to ring in the film fiesta of everything cinematic.

Announcing the festival program at a largely attended online event, director Mitu Bhowmick Lange while talking about the variety of movies at the festival said " most will push you out of the comfort zone.

Bittu, 16 minutes, Hindi is set in a forgotten Himalayan community, this film follows eight-year-old Bittu. Unlike most girls in her village, Bittu is a streetwise charmer with a brilliantly foul tongue. Chand is Bittu's best friend and young protege; Polar opposites but always a team- they play, steal, fight and hustle together - reciting dirty jokes for quick money in crowded bus stops. The natural performer Bittu excels at all things street level. But at school things are different. Chand outperforms Bittu in every way - a keen student in a pristine uniform, she is naturally everybody's favorite at school. Meanwhile, Bittu resents the rote and attends school for her free lunch. On this day, events escalate quickly between the two friends, bringing them to an end they never imagined.

The cast is Saurabh Saraswat, Krishna Devi, Monu Uniyal, Salma Khartoum, and director Karishma Dev Dube.

Songs of Rain (Assamese)

Womb, 102 minutes English, Hindi, Tamil, Telegu,- Women of My Billion - is a heart-warming documentary about Srishti Bakshi who embarks on a monumental journey, walking almost 4000km over 240 days, from Kanyakumari to Kashmir exploring the social and political issues faced by women of today's India.

Srishti Bakshi embarks on a 3,800-kilometer on-foot journey from Kanyakumari to Srinagar over 230 days to raise awareness of the rising tide of violence against women in India. The cast is Pragya Prasun Singh, Neha Rai, Sangeeta Tiwari, Srishti Bakshi, and director Ajitesh Sharma.

This opening night film can be seen on Thursday, August 12, at 7 pm at Hoyts Melbourne Central.

Apart from the Short Film Competition and the Bollywood Dance Competition (Federation Square, 15 August 12 pm onwards). The last date of entries for it is 30 July 2021. The theme of the Short Film Competition is 'Modern Slavery and Equality' and the judges are actress Richa Chadha and Director Onir.

In the wake of the current Australian border lockdown, the award ceremony will be hosted virtually, but the fun nevertheless will be amplified. The jury members for this year will include names like global award-winning film editor Jill Bilcock, one of Australia's renowned actors Vince Colosimo, and more.

With an aim to celebrate community spirit beyond the pandemic, IFFM recognizes and honors Victorians, who fostered the spirit of giving back, especially during the onset of Covid-19. We received an overwhelming response to our digital campaign called #IFFMHero, where each of you nominated an individual for their outstanding contribution to society during the unprecedented year of 2020.

Biryani (Malyalum)

The IFFM Heroes will be facilitated on August 15, 2021, at Federation Square.

There are about 100 films, short films, and documentaries in Indian and South Asian languages which will be shown on the big screen in Hoyts cinema across Melbourne and online (12-30 August 2021).

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