Last night at Melbourne was a grand affair as some of the Bollywood actors made their presence at the annual Indian Film Festival of Melbourne Awards night.

The theme of this year was on inclusion at its core, the festival kicked off on 10th of August and witnessed its biggest even last night at the Palais Theatre one of the oldest and most iconic landmarks of Melbourne.

The awards night started off with a grand red carpet celebrating various cultures of India with a grand welcome to each guest. The night witnessed various performances of various dance forms from India, but the highlight was the extremely energetic and soulful performance of Sachin-Jigar and also the phenomenal comedy set by comedian and host of the night, Saadiya Ali.

Hichki, Sanju and soon to be released Love Sonia took award the majority of awards including Best Film, Best Director, Best Actress and Best Indie Film. The marvelous team of Mahanati took home the Equality in Cinema Award and

Freida Pinto was conferred with the award for Diversity in Cinema award. The highlight of the night was when Simi Garewal gave away the top honor of the night with a moving speech to Rani Mukerji for Excellence in Cinema Award.

Best Indie Film: Love Sonia

Best Indie Film Special Mention: Gali Guleiyan (In the Shadows)

Equality in Cinema: Mahanati

Diversity Award: Freida Pinto

Best Actor: Manoj Bajpayee for Gali Guleiyan (In the Shadows)

IFFM VANGUARD AWARD: Ranbir Kapoor for his Breakthrough Performance in Sanju

Best Actress: Rani Mukherji for Hichki

Best film: Sanju

Best Director: Rajkumar Hirani

Best Supporting Performance: Vicky Kaushal for Sanju and Richa Chadha for Love Sonia

Excellence in Cinema: Rani Mukherji

Rani Mukerji, winner of the Best Actress and Excellence in Cinema awards, said, “Thank you Melbourne and thank you to IFFM. This is my first award after becoming a mother, so it’s very special. And I’m so honoured that such a brilliant jury chose me as the winner. I usually don’t give importance to awards but with Hichki it’s different. We made this film to create awareness and I feel there’s little people know about Tourette’s and I feel by winning this award if people get more curious to discover the film even today it will help the larger idea.”

Freida Pinto, who won the Diversity award said, “I feel responsible to be representing the few of my own, my own country in another industry. I think it’s a huge responsibility to create such diversity. And as much as I’m honoured to be given this award, I would like to say it’s not me alone, it’s the writers, the filmmakers, the storytellers who contribute to bring forth such diversity and such diverse roles.”

Richa Chadha, who won the award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Love Sonia, said, “Today standing here accepting this award I want to say that without having someone who knows someone and being an outsider, I feel like I have made it. So I feel if I can do it and be an actor, so can you. Just hang it in there and if you’re talented things will come to you. I feel elated to win this award. I was one of the last people to come obo board for Love Sonia but I’m so glad I did. It’s an important film and it must be seen by people know of the importance of the topic.”