Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Padmaavat and Rajkumar Hirani's Sanju are leading the nomination pack for the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne (IFFM) Awards 2018.
Simi Garewal, Nikkhil Advani, Sue Maslin, Jill Bilcock, Andrew Anastaisos and Geoffrey Wright will come together as the IFFM Jury at the gala, billed as the southern hemisphere's greatest annual celebration of Indian cinema.
The jury members will choose winners across six categories—Best Film, Best Indie Film, Best Actor, Best Director, Best Supporting Role and Best Director.
Padman, Hichki, Padmaavat, Sanju, Secret Superstar, Raazi, Mahanati and Rangasthalam are competing for Best Film, while the contenders in the Best Indie Film category are In The Shadows, Village Rockstars, Balekempa, Up, Down and Sideways (documentary), Mayurakshi, Garbage, Sir and Love Sonia.
In the Best Actor category, Ranbir Kapoor's Sanju act is up against Varun Dhawan (October), Ranveer Singh (Padmaavat), Akshay Kumar (Padman), Manoj Bajpayee (In The Shadows), Fahadh Faasil (The Exhibit and the Eyewitness), Soumitra Chaterjee (Mayurakshi) and Shahid Kapoor (Padmaavat).
To be held from August 10-22 under the theme of ‘Inclusion', this year's gala—with over 60 films in 22 languages—explores the diversity of contemporary Indian cinema, from Bollywood box-office hits, documentaries and art-house premieres, to a Bollywood dance competition and master classes with key figures from the Indian film industry.
IFFM Director Mitu Bhowmick Lange said in a statement: "Our competition section is as diverse as the films and people who come for the festival. It has some mainstream, indie and regional films but the one thing they share no matter what the language or theme, it is fantastic eye-catching cinema."
She said the fest's jury is a mix of Australian and Indian talents who share a common thread—the love for cinema.