The Indian Film Festival of Melbourne got under way on Friday at the Australian city’s central business district.

Minister of Arts and Culture Martin Foley announced the start of the festival at a press conference where Mitu Bhowmick Lange, director of the festival, introduced all the actors present there.

Also read: Film festivals convert an audience nobody expects: Mitu Bhowmick Lange

Among the actors present were Rani Mukerji, Freida Pinto, Richa Chadha, Ali Fazal, Rajkumar Hirani, Vicky Kaushal, Abhijaat Joshi, Mrunal Thakur and the comedian Saadiya Ali.

“I’m really happy to be here representing my country, my film and my fraternity. A big Thank you to the Victorian government for supporting the Indian film fraternity. I thank Mitu inviting me. And  this trip is special because I’m coming here with my daughter. It’s the first time she’s seeing Melbourne” said Rani Mukherji on being the guest of honour.

Freida Pinto spoke about her next film to premiere, “Love Sonia gives you a glimpse into the world of oval sex trafficking But it still doesn’t show the entire world of it…. So as an artist when you get an Opportunity to be part of such a film That can raise a global conversation, it’s fun to adapt to the character but it’s also but More than that you’re raising a very important topic which will leave the audiences with something to ponder on”.

Director Rajkumar Hirani said, “Mitu is an inspiration for many. She’s always been kind to have me here and I’m looking to IFFM. Australia is a great country and with Melbourne being such an amazing city, I’m looking forward to meeting people here” on Sanju being a part of the film festival.

The Indian Film Festival of Melbourne will continue from 10 August to 22 August in Melbourne, screening over 60 films from across India and the subcontinent in over 22 languages.

Film lovers will get to interact with their favourite actors, directors and writers at the festival in event like panel discussions and Q&As post the screenings.