Vidya Balan, Suriya, Manoj Bajpayee, Samantha Akkineni bag top acting honors at IFFM 2021; Check out the full list of winners below

Soorarai Pottru and Mirzapur won the Best Film award and Best Series title respectively at the IFFM
Vidya Balan, Suriya, Manoj Bajpayee, Samantha Akkineni bag top acting honors at IFFM 2021
Vidya Balan, Suriya, Manoj Bajpayee, Samantha Akkineni bag top acting honors at IFFM 2021

The 12th edition of the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne (IFFM), was held virtually, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, on Friday.

This year’s festival boasted an impressive line-up of feature and short films across the various film industries in India. The list of winners for Best Actors and Actresses included Suriya, Manoj Bajpayee, Samantha Akkineni and Vidya Balan, while Soorarai Pottru and Mirzapur won the Best Film award and Best Series title respectively.
IFFM honored Pankaj Tripathi with the Prestigious Diversity in Cinema Award presented by LaTrobe University. Additionally, Soorarai Pottru walked away with the Best Feature Film and Suriya won the Best Actor award for the same film. Vidya Balan took home the Best Actress title for her widely acclaimed film Sherni and Mirzapur was given the Best Series Award. Ace filmmaker Anurag Basu picked up the Best Director trophy for the feature film Ludo
Speaking about the winners, the festival’s director Mitu Bhowmick Lange, said, “We congratulate all the winners and their teams for making great films that were loved by the audiences across the globe. It is about time that we have conversations in cinema and about cinema that are not mainstream and biased. It is time to present the diverse sensibilities through narratives that are ground-breaking and all the winners of the IFFM awards symbolize this fervour of thought (sic).”

On winning the prestigious Diversity in Cinema Award, Pankaj Tripathi dedicated his award to filmmaker Anurag Kashyap and said, “This award is special for me, I’m humbled. It’s really inspiring for me, my craft. The man who is here to give me this award - he is the one who discovered my talent. So thanks to Anurag Kashyap sir. He is the one who rediscovered my talent. So I’m grateful to you. I’m grateful to all my directors, writers for having me part of their projects (sic).”

Talking about how he felt after receiving the Best Actor award for a feature film for Soorarai Pottru, Suriya said, “I’m sure all the nominees have given their best. This film is very special. This is the first award I’m getting for this film. This is one of the first films that came to me during the pandemic. Thanks to all the fans who have given us so much love. In my career, I felt bored with what I was doing after having worked for 20 years. So thanks to my director Sudha — this film was her 10 years’ dream — she worked 4 years on writing or his film. The character of Maara will not be anything without her. I couldn’t ask for more (sic).”

Vidya Balan, who earned the Best Actress in a feature film title for Sherni, said she was thrilled to be receiving the award for Sherni, which was shot during the pandemic. She added, “Thanks to my director Amit Masurkar, my producer Abundantia, who pulled all stops to make this film during these uncertain times (sic).”

Sona Mohapatra, who won the Best Documentary Award for Shut Up Sona, said, “At a time when the world is finding its new feet in this new normal IFFM was our first outing after the second wave in India, we are grateful and we are looking for better times and hoping to make more music. Sending you out all a lot of love, much more music in our lives, and yes being fearless in telling stories.”

Meanwhile, after winning Best Actor in a series for The Family Man 2, Manoj Bajpayee thanked the writers, Raj and DK for “giving him the space to become Srikant Tiwari.” He said, “Thank you to all the jury members for honoring me. I must mention — cinema or series — are both highly collaborative. It’s highly embarrassing for me to take away the award to myself without mentioning everyone involved. Amazon, Raj, and DK, but it’s the writers for the series that make a lot of difference. It’s that team of writers, so thank you to them for giving me the space to become this character. The last time I was at this festival I took the Best Actor award for Gali Guleiyan and I’m grateful to the festival (sic).”

On winning the Best Director Award for Ludo, Anurag Basu said, “Humbling to be part of the nominees and to be winning the best director. Thankful to Netflix and T-Series. My actors were amazing to stand by me. Such amazing people, my crew, my actors. Such a crazy bunch of people. This award shows us that despite all the situation we are in, shows that cinema will continue to be celebrated (sic).”

The festival was attended by several celebrities from India including Anurag Kashyap, Shoojit Sircar, Thiagarajan Kumararaja, Sriram Raghavan, and saw the presence of jury members Richa Chadha, Guneet Monga, Onir, Australian filmmaker Geoffrey Wright, Oscar-nominated editor Jill Bilcock, and television actor Vince Colosimo.

Several other dignitaries from Australia too were present, including Governor of Victoria Linda Dessau AC; actor Andrew Howard; Danny Pearson, Minister for Creative Industries, Regulatory Reform, Government Services and Assistant Treasurer; Luke Donellan, Minister for Child Protection, Disability, Ageing and Carers; and Caroline Pitcher, CEO of Film Victoria.

Here’s the complete list of winners: 
Best Feature Film: Soorarai Pottru
Best Performance Male (Feature): Suriya Sivakumar (Soorarai Pottru)
Best Performance Female (Feature): Vidya Balan (Sherni) and Honourable Mention to Nimisha Sajayan (The Great Indian Kitchen)
Best Director: Anurag Basu (Ludo) and Honorary Mention to Prithvi Konanur (Pinki Elli?)
Best Series: Mirzapur Season 2
Best Actress in a Series: Samantha Akkineni (The Family Man 2)
Best Actor in a Series: Manoj Bajpayee (The Family Man 2)
Equality in Cinema (Short Film): Sheer Qorma
Equality in Cinema Award (Feature Film): The Great Indian Kitchen
Best Indie Film: Fire in the Mountains
Diversity in Cinema Award: Pankaj Tripathi
Disruptor Award: Sanal Kumar Sasidharan
Best Documentary Film: Shut Up Sona

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