Gully Boy wins best film at Melbourne festival; SRK, KJo, Vijay Sethupati also bag prizes
Melbourne - Gully Boy, which served as a voice for most struggling hip-hop artistes in India, has been honoured with the best film award at the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne (IFFM).
After winning the award on Thursday night, Zoya Akhtar, director of Gully Boy, said: "I am so excited. I am not going to forget this evening. This is my first award in the capacity of a producer.
"Gully Boy was our first production. This is a good start. No one makes a movie alone and this wouldn't be possible without my producers, my co-writer, my incredible actors and every member of my cast and crew. As many as 54 invincible artistes worked on this album. I owe this night to all of them."
Assamese filmmaker Rima Das' Bulbul Can Sing won the best indie film, while the best director award was given to Sriram Raghavan for Andhadhun.
"I am thankful and overwhelmed with the response to Andhadhun and this award. A French short film inspired this movie. It was seven years ago and the movie took a long time to make," Sriram said on his win.
Tabu walked away with the best actress award for the crime thriller. Vijay Sethupathi, on the other hand, won the best actor honour for Super Deluxe.
Upon receiving her award, Tabu said: "It's my first time in Australia but I will remember it for the rest of my life. Thank you Sriram for writing this for me. This character is a catalyst for change of roles for women that are being written and will be written in future. Thank you for trusting me with this character."
Additionally, IFFM bestowed on superstar Shah Rukh Khan - the Excellence In Cinema award.
Shah Rukh said: "It's an honour and privilege for me. Awards are odd because, to me, an art form being judged for its quality feels counter-intuitive. Art is an expression, and cinema is the ability to create emotions and share experiences through stories.
"To be an actor is to live to know that each one is a mere illusion. When you are making a movie you can change a lot by changing the angle of the light and it strikes you that life is a lot like that as well.
"It's the simple things that can alter your journey and pondering makes your story worth telling."
He also recalled the time when he shot for Chak De! India here 12 years ago.
"It was a straightforward film about a man who had lost hope in life picks on a team of girls and then they go on to win a world championship. This city had the simplicity I had seen nowhere else.
"When you get older like me, you realise things. I realised that film changed my life. It's not the awards you get, it's just the part of creating a process that is an exhilarating experience for an artiste."
Twenty years of Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Karan Johar's directorial debut, was also celebrated at the gala.
Karan said: "I am here today only because of Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. I can't believe I actually became a filmmaker. My parents thought I am too emotionally fragile for the movie business. Two men who had faith in me more than I had on myself are Aditya Chopra and Shah Rukh Khan.
"Adi said I am melodramatic thus, I should be a filmmaker. SRK is 'bhai' for me because over the years, the friendship went into family and at some point, it transformed into sibling love.
"I don't have siblings of my own but he is the older brother I never had, looking out for me at every step."
Getting nostalgic, he said: "During the shoot of Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, he promised me that if I became a filmmaker he will work with me. He kept his word and in October 1997, I started the schedule of the film.
"He had no idea what I was making but he had so much faith in me for which I am grateful. There's nothing I like as much as the movies - where else can you sing and dance. Kuch Kuch Hota Hai will always remain special because the film thrives on innocence and conviction."