Melbourne: Bollywood actors Sonam Kapoor and Nawazuddin Siddiqui bagged the best actress and best actor
awards at the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne 2016.
While Sonam was awarded for her performance in Neerja Bhanot's biopic, Neerja, Nawazuddin won the award for his role of psycho serial killer in Raman Raghav 2.0.
Expressing his delight over the award, Nawazuddin said "I am thankful for considering me for this award."
Other nominees in best male performance were Ranveer Singh for Bajirao Mastaani, Shah Rukh Khan for Fan and Manoj Bajpai for Aligarh.
Sonam dedicated her award to the Bhanot family.
"I am very lucky to be up here...This is a real story about a woman who is only 23 years old. I want to thank Bhanot
family specially the mother who passed away... Its a film about compassion more than anything else," she said.
Filmmaker Shakun Batra's Kapoor and Sons and Leena Yadav's Parched also scooped the top awards.
Batra's directorial venture won the best film award and Yadav's film lead the best indie film category. She also
bagged the best director award.
Pakistani actor Fawad Khan was given a special diversity award by the state special minister Gavin Jennings.
Rishi Kapoor was honoured with the lifetime achievement award for excellence in cinema.
Expressing his happiness to receive the award, Rishi reminisced when his father Raj Kapoor thought of casting him
as his younger version in Mera Naam Joker.
"I remember when my father asked my mom...I went to my room and took out a paper and started practising my
autographs," he recalled and added that he came from a family which gave 88 years to the Indian cinema out of 104 years.
"We are very grateful to people like you who have extended our legacy," he added.
The 63-year-old actor said though being a member of Kapoor family made it easy for him to get into film, it was his
hardwork that made him sustain.
"It is very difficult. I was just not Raj Kapoor's son I have given lot of blood, sweat and tears to it," he said.
The star studded gala event that was held last night at the Melbourne Recital Center saw special performances by
Pakistani singer-songwriter, Sara Haider, Shalmali Kholgade, Suzanne D'Mello, and other notable local performers.
Veteran actress Simi Garewal, Neetu Singh, filmmaker Anurag Kashyap, Richa Chadha, Indian high commissioner Navdeep Suri, Consul General Manika Jain were also present at the occasion.
This year, the festival has screened a variety of films, features, shorts and documentaries in 17 languages. Around
50 films are shortlisted for the festival.
The theme for this edition is 'Women Empowerment'. Angry India Goddesses will bring the curtains down for the
festival on 21 August.