'Gandhi, My Father' to kick off Australian film festival

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By Neena Bhandari

Sydney, Oct 3 (IANS) Feroze Khan's "Gandhi, My Father" will kick off the fifth Australian Indian Film Festival (AIFF) in Sydney on Oct 17.

The film is also one of the five nominated in the Best Screenplay category for the Asia Pacific Screen Awards (APSA) to be held on the Gold Coast in November.

AIFF has become the largest foreign film festival in Australia.

Every October the audience, largely reared on mainstream American and Australian productions, is treated to a selection of the best Indian films.

This year's screenings include "Shootout at Lokhandwala", "Ta Ra Rum Pum", "Cheeni Kum", "Dhoom 2", "Eklavya", "The Namesake" and "Laaga Chunari Main Daag".

The event, attended by over 40,000 people each year, attracts some of India's leading filmmakers and film stars.

"Chak de! India" director Shimit Amin, actresses Sagarika Ghatge and Tanya Abrol, Akshaye Khanna, Anil Kapoor, Feroze Khan, Siddharth Anand, Arbaaz Khan and John Abraham will be guests at this year's festival.

For APSA's Best Screenplay category, "Gandhi, My Father" is in the fray with "Lucky Miles" (Australia), "Night Bus" (Iran), "Secret Sunshine" (Republic of Korea), and "Takva: A Man's fear of God" (Turkey).

An awards ceremony announcing the Best Film and Best Performance will be held for the first time at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney.

An international jury to determine the winners in each category, headed by actress and activist Shabana Azmi, will meet on the Gold Coast from Nov 7.

One of the highlights will be the Bollywood in Australia showcase -- a selection of four Hindi films, shot in Australia by an Australian crew, with local dancers and actors.

The films include Farhan Akhtar's "Dil Chahta Hai", Siddharth Anand's "Salaam Namaste", Sajid Khan's "Heyy Babyy" and the recent box-office hit "Chak de! India", shot extensively in Melbourne and Sydney.

The 10-day festival will also travel to Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth in the coming months