Rani Mukerji on hoisting the National Flag at Indian Film Festival of Melbourne: I feel humbled for this honour

The Indian Film Festival of Melbourne officially began on August 10. The opening night brought in eager cinephiles to watch Tabrez Noorani’s ‘Love Sonia‘ in the city centre of Melbourne. 

On August 11, immigrants from all across Melbourne flocked to see their favourite superstar, Rani Mukerji, unfurl the Indian tricolour at the iconic Federation Square in the heart of Melbourne city. The ceremony also saw Daniel Andrews, the Premier of Victoria, equivalent to the chief minister of the state, and several other important officials in attendance.

Addressing 10,000 people, Rani said, “I think it’s a matter of nation honour for anyone to hoist their national flag. And the fact that I’m doing it in Australia so far away from home is even more special and makes it more patriotic. I’m humbled that this honour’s been bestowed upon me by Mitu and the Victorian government so I must thank them. I have had the love of the audiences for the last 22 years and it’s that love that has got me here today. So I must thank the audiences the most. I most remember the patriotic song from my father’s film Hum Hindustani, “Chodo kal Ki Batein”. I really miss him here today.”

Rani Mukerji and Vicky Kaushal also took to the stage to dance with the children from Emotion 21, a dance company that works with children who love dance and have down syndrome. The actors danced to ‘Jai Ho’ from ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ with the children. 

One of the other highlights of the festival is the Bollywood Dance Competition, which is held immediately after the flag hoisting ceremony. The competition sees several dance troupes from Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney and other Australian towns and cities come and compete with one another, performing on their favourite Bollywood numbers. This year, Malaika Arora, Nikkhil Advani and Avtar Panesar, the Vice President of International Operations for Yash Raj Films formed the jury.