India's official entry to the Oscars — Rang De Basanti — has won the Best Film Award at the Indian film festival in Sydney.
"Rang De Basanti was adjudged the best film from among several Indian films screened during the fourth edition of the Indian film festival at Sydney, by an all Australian jury," the director of the film Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra said in a release here.
Other films in the offering were Vishal Bhardwaj's Omkara, Rajkumar Hirani's Lage Raho Munnabhai, Rohan Sippy's Bluffmaster, Apurva Lakhia's Ek Ajnabee, Karan Johar's Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna and Kunal Kohli's Fanaa.
"What was heartening to note was the fact that most of the people watching the movie were Australians and not local Asians. Normally when an Indian film is screened at a film festival abroad, there are more Asians in the audience than locals," Mehra said about local receptivity to the festival which concluded a couple of days ago.
Mehra said the response to the film as well as other Indian films like "Being Cyrus" showed that Indian films with a universal theme and content were getting acceptance from people other than Asians.
"In 2006, the festival featured the biggest range of Indian cinema we have ever presented -- from the most mainstream commercially successful Hindi films to the most experimental and interesting films coming out of India at the moment," festival director Mitu Bhowmick Lange was quoted as saying.