The eighth edition of India Film Festival of Melbourne 2017 kicked off today with the Australian premiere of Alankrita Srivastava’s ‘Lipstick Under My Burkha’, celebrating the theme of diversity in cinema.

The festival aims to highlight diversity in cinema through the films they screen such as the short films and, inspirational stories and experiences from the festival guests. The festival which is also known as the largest Indian film festival of the southern hemisphere will screen over 60 Bollywood Films, indie films and short films in 20 different languages. The films representing the Indian subcontinent include over 30 Australian premieres.

The festival was officially open in in the presence of festival director Mitu Bhowmick and the event was also graced by Konkana Sen Sharma and Alankrita Srivastava who lit the ceremonial lamp.

Alankrita Shrivastava, Tannishtha Chatterjee, Konkana Sen, Mitu Bhowmick Lange

Besides screening, the fest will also hold several special events including flag hoisting event, master classes, Telstra Bollywood Dance Competition, screening at Dandenong and a special awards night.

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan will be hoisting the Indian national flag at Melbourne’s iconic pulse point, Federation Square. In fact, she will be the first Indian woman to have this honour. In addition, the actress will also be felicitated by the government at the Westpac IFFM Awards night on 11th August, for her contribution to Global cinema.

Amongst other guests who will be attending this festival are Karan Johar, Sushant Singh Rajput, Raj Kummar Rao, Adil Hossain, Malaika Arora, Nitesh Tiwari, Rajeev Masand, Vikram Phadnis etc.

Nitesh Tiwari

On the successful running of IFFM for the 6th year, Mitu Bhowmick said, “It was indeed a great pleasure to host the Australian premiere of ‘Lipstick Under My Burkha’. The audience was thrilled to have seen a film that has literally redefined the way women oriented content has been shaping up in India for the past few years. Alankrita and Konkona graced the opening night and also addressed questions of the curious audience post the film. We are happy to have Lipstick as the opening night film because the film doesn’t only entertain but also makes us think.”

The IFFM is one of the biggest Indian Film Festivals outside of the country. It is one of the few festivals which is supported officially by the government which in this case is the Victorian Government which has been associated with the festival since its inception in 2010.

Tannishtha Chatterjee, Mitu Bhowmick Lange, Alankrita Shrivastava, Konkana Sen

Actress Vidya Balan is IFFM’s official ambassador. In 2016, the festival boasted an ensemble of 51 films and documentaries which were showcased from all across India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Australia. The theme ‘Women Empowerment’ made it a huge success last year.