MELBOURNE: Tillotama Shome spoke strongly of how a culture of inclusivity can begin if people start taking care of prejudices, as the actress' "Sir" brought the curtains down on the 12-day Indian Film Festival of Melbourne (IFFM) here.
Rohena Gera's "Sir", which had its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival, ended IFFM on a high note on Wednesday night. Starring Tillotama and Vivek Gomber in the lead, the plot revolves around the lives of Ratna, a maid who works for Ashwin, a young man belonging to a wealthy family. When the two make a connection, it leads to barriers between them seeming more insuperable.
Tillotama said: "The film handles a subject matter that is delicate and the audience in Melbourne embraced it with great warmth. I missed Rohena and Vivek a lot. The questions were varied and many. The one that sticks, is a gentleman from Africa who asked how can one do away with such man made divisions. He has personally experienced deep racism and the film's exploration of a deep class divide, a kind of modern day slavery resonated with him.
"Inclusion begins for me by taking a deep look at my own prejudices and not giving in to the roles that I am accustomed or supposed to play. Such slow, tectonic shifts can be realized by personal revolutions within us. There is no short cut, we have been playing the divide and rule game for too long. I am culpable and unless I don't recognise it, I cannot begin to create an inclusive world."
For IFFM Festival Director Mitu Bhowmick Lange, there couldn't have been a more fitting movie for closing the gala, which had inclusion as its theme this year.
"'Sir' is a beautiful film that addresses the inequality that we have in our society whether it is class or gender in a beautiful subtle way. It was a super screening, the film got a standing ovation, as did Tillotama. This year the festival has been a beautiful celebration of cinema, arts and inclusion," Lange said.
As many as 60 films were screened across 22 languages at the fest, which was attended by the likes of Rani Mukerji, Rajkumar Hirani, Vicky Kaushal, Simi Garewal, Manoj Bajpayee, Freida Pinto, Richa Chadha, Ali Fazal, Keerthy Suresh and Garth Davis.