Rani Mukerjee gets emotional after hoisting the Indian flag in Melbourne
Rani Mukerji hoisted the Indian national flag on Day 1 of Indian Film Festival of Melbourne. Immigrants from all across Melbourne flocked to see their favourite superstar, Rani Mukerji, unfurl the Indian tricolour proudly at the iconic Federation Square in the heart of Melbourne city, the ceremony also saw Daniel Andrews, the Premier of Victoria, equivalent to the chief minister of the state, and several other important officials in attendance.
With over 10,000 people watching, Rani spoke of the honour and said, “ I think it’s a matter of honour for anyone to hoist their national flag. And the fact that I’m doing it in Australia so far away from home is even more special and makes it more patriotic. I’m humbled that this honour was bestowed upon me by Mitu and the Victorian government so I must thank them. I have had the love of the audiences for the last 22 years and it’s that love that has got me here today. So I must thank the audiences the most. I most remember the patriotic song from my father’s film Hum Hindustani, Chodo Kal Ki Batein. I really miss him here today.”
Rani Mukerji and Vicky Kaushal also took to the stage to dance with the children from Emotion 21, a dance company that works with children who love dance and have down syndrome. The actors danced to Jai Ho from Slumdog Millionaire with the children.
The festival opened with the screening of Love Sonia.The film brought in eager cinephiles to watch this film by Tabrez Noorani at a famous cinema in the city centre of Melbourne. Love Sonia stars Manoj Bajpayee, Freida Pinto, Mrunal Thakur and Richa Chadha. Revolving around the life of a young girl who gets trapped in the ugly world of sex trafficking, the film tackles the rather crucial issue of the global flesh trade in the most poignant way possible.
Talking about the film, the director, Tabrez said, “It was in 2004 when I first met a survivor of sex trafficking. I have worked on this film for a decade. It wasn’t easy to convince people to produce a film which was based in India and based on a subject of sex trafficking. But we are very happy to have had this opportunity to work on a film that brings forth such an important conversation. We hope people go and watch this film and a dialogue starts to bring a change.”
One of the other highlights of the festival is the Bollywood Dance Competition, which is held immediately after the flag hoisting ceremony. The competition sees several dance troupes from Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney and other Australian towns and cities come and compete with one another, performing on their favourite Bollywood numbers. This year, the jury for the competition is Malaika Arora, Nikkhil Advani and Avtar Panesar, the Vice President of International Operations for Yash Raj Films.