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Taking magic of Indian cinema to 'film-friendly' Melbourne

Indo Asian News Service
2 June 2012

New Delhi, June 2 (IANS) She is set to showcase some new-age Indian films like "Kahaani" and "Teri Meri Kahaani" in Australia through the forthcoming Indian Film Festival of Melbourne (IFFM). And Mitu Bhowmick Lange says the country is friendly to filmmakers, scouting to shoot in its myriad landscapes.

Lange, festival director of IFFM, has been staying in Australia since a decade and she says that officials there are approachable. However, it is wiser to come well-prepared for a shooting schedule.

"Australia is very safety conscious. I would not really call them stringent, but yes, filmmakers have to come prepared and fairly organised to ensure they get all permissions and can film without any hindrance," Lange told IANS in an email interview from Melbourne.

"It is very film-friendly and all the states have their own film offices who are most helpful," she added.

Australia can be a delight for filmmakers with its gamut of breathtaking backdrops -- pristine beaches, green rain-forests, barren deserts, and rocky mountain ranges.

During her stay in Australia, Lange, owner of Mind Blowing Films, has brought in several Indian productions to the country. She line-produced films like "Salaam Namaste", "Chak De India!", "Bachna Ae Haseeno" and "Love Aaj Kal".

Lange has been organising the film festival for the past two years. For its third edition, to be held June 11-22, she has received the support of the Victoria state government, which has decided to partner with her for the next three years starting this year.

"It has been wonderful to have the Victoria government endorse the festival. This accords the festival the status of a state event, thereby giving us a far greater visibility and possibilities. The exposure that it is generating will act as a wonderful bridge between the two countries and cultures," she added.

Over 12 days, the fest will host film screenings of movies like "Kahaani", "Michael", "Delhi Belly", "Urumi", Oscar-winning Pakistani documentary "Saving Face" and Sri Lankan film "Chatrak". The closing film will be Rituparno Ghosh's "Memories in March", while Kunal Kohli's "Teri Meri Kahaani" will have its world premiere at the fest.

The idea for such a festival occurred to Lange with the growing interest of the western world in Indian cinema.

"The whole idea of the festival came about as there was a curiosity about our films among the Australians. So we thought it would be a good idea to introduce them to the magic of Indian cinema and give them the whole gamut - right from the mainstream Hindi films to the regional gems to the more art-house films," she said.

And their perception of Indian cinema has transformed, she said, adding: "It is slowly changing though most of them still tend to stereotype them with the song and dance films."

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