The Indian Film Festival of Melbourne (IFFM) kick-started here with the virtual screening of the films Natkhat and Habaddi.
The festival, which is being held online this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, will screen 60 movies in 17 languages over the course of eight days.
The opening night movies — Vidya Balan-starrer Natkhat and sports drama Habbadi — addresses the issues of gender equality and disability.
“Indian filmmakers, from independent short filmmakers to our most powerful directors, turn their gaze to issues of freedom and equality in the contemporary world and celebrate the diversity that defines us all.
“Film is a powerful way to bring people together, whether they are sitting in a packed cinema house or in their homes in 2020,” IFFM director Mitu Bhowmick Lange said during the virtual opening ceremony on Friday.
Caroline Pitcher, the CEO of Film Victoria, said though the festival was a little different this year, it was still as “vibrant” as its previous editions.
In a pre-recorded message, Balan also encouraged movie fans to watch the films being showcased at the festival.
This year, the festival will witness 34 international premiers and over 50 Australian premiers.
The movie gala will also honour Bollywood stars Irrfan Khan, Rishi Kapoor and Sushant Singh Rajput, who passed away this year.
The 11th edition of IFFM will run till October 30.