Johannesburg: Filmmaker Sanjay LeelaBhansali’s epic saga “Bajirao Mastani” scooped major trophies, including the best director and best film overall, at the South African International Film Festival, also known as the RapidLion Awards.
Although RapidLion is largely intended for filmmaking recognition for African countries, a number of nominations were received from India in a special category for BRICS countries, in which Bhansali’s film beat entries from Russia and host country South Africa.
There were no entries from China and Brazil, the other countries in BRICS.
“Bajirao Mastani” also bagged honours in categories like best actress in a leading role for Deepika Padukone, best of BRICS, best film editing (Rajesh Pandey) and cinematography (Sudeep Chatterjee).
The film was also nominated for the best actor in a leading role (Ranveer Singh), sound editing and original song (“Ab Tohe Jane Doongi”).
“Bollywood has soft power in reflecting the diversity and beauty of Indian culture to audiences across the globe,” said Consul-General Dr K J Srinivasa as he accepted the awards on behalf of the winners, none of whom were present.
“We are happy for the awardees and especially for the acknowledgement that good Bollywood films such as ‘Bajirao Mastani’ are appreciated all over the world, including here in South Africa.
“We will ensure that all the awards are delivered to the winners to add to the many awards they have already collected for this film in the past year,” Srinivasa added.
There were a number of other nominations from India, including Hansal Mehta’s “Aligarh”.
The film’s lead star Manoj Bajpayee was nominated in the best actor category, while the film also vied for the award for direction (Mehta) as well as film editing and best original screenplay (Apurva Asrani for both).
Another Indian entry was “The Violin Player”, which was nominated for the best original song (Bhaskar Dutta for The First Cadenz) and the best original screenplay (Bauddhayan Mukherji).
All these films will have special screenings here.
“Given the calibre of the competition, RapidLion is swiftly establishing itself as a leading film competition both in South Africa and internationally,” said spokesman Eric Miyeni.
The partners in the RapidLion Festival include the Nelson Mandela Foundation and the Department of Arts and Culture in the South African government. PTI
For more news updates Follow and Like us on Facebook