Rang De… wins best film award in Sydney

MUMBAI: The accolades for Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s Rang De Basanti, which was produced by UTV, continue. After being chosen as the Indian entry in the best foreign film category for the Oscars and subsequently being sent in eight other mainline Oscar categories, the movie has now bagged the best film award at the Indian film festival in Sydney, which concluded a couple of days ago.


“Rang De Basanti was adjudged the best film, from among the several Indian films screened during the fourth edition of the Indian film festival at Sydney, by an all Australian jury,” said Mehra.


The other films in the offering were Vishal Bhardwaj’s Omkara, Rajkumar Hirani’s Lage Raho Munnabhai, Rohan Sippy’s Bluffmaster, Apurva Lakhia’s Ek Ajnabee, Karan Johar’s Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna and Kunal Kohli’s Fanaa.


Mehra, who returned from Sydney last week after attending the film festival, which began on 5 October, said the screening of Rang De Basanti at the event drew an overwhelming response.


“What was heartening to note was the fact that most of the people among the packed hall screening the movie were Australians and not local Asians. Normally when an Indian film is screened at a film festival abroad, there are more Asians in the audience than locals,” Mehra said.


“The huge response to Rang De Basanti, as also others like Being Cyrus shows that Indian films are finally getting the eyeballs from people outside the Asian community settled abroad. This also means that films with universal theme and content like Omkara and Rang De Basanti are meeting with acceptance from people other than the Asians which is a matter of happiness for Indian cinema in that it signifies a greater potential for them in foreign countries,” he added.


Mehra said the huge response from Australians to the screening of Rang De Basanti has opened a non-traditional market like Australia for Bollywood film-makers.


“Traditionally, Bollywood films have been released in countries like the UK, the US, Dubai and East Africa. However, the increasing interest level for Indian films in Australia meant that the country could serve as another potential market for Indian films,” he said.


Festival director Mitu Bhowmick Lange said, “In 2006 the festival featured the biggest range of Indian cinema we have ever presented – from the most mainstream commercially successful Hindi films to the most experimental and interesting films coming out of India at the moment. It is the most diverse and exciting showcase of Indian cinema ever in Australia and I am very proud to present this exciting program to Australian audiences.”

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