Acclaimed Indian film director Mani Ratnam, known for his films like "Roja", "Bombay" and "Dil Se", has won the Icon award at the Bagri Foundation London Film Festival for his outstanding contribution to cinema.
Receiving the award at the closing night of the festival here last night, Ratnam said "I am honoured and humbled to receive this icon award. I think that Indian cinema is at the threshold of a new era, and the Bagri Foundation London Indian Film Festival is a showcase of this next generation.
"I am sure that future awards will be won by some of the bright young talent that is coming up."
Ratnam also gave a rare Screen Talk masterclass at the BFI Southbank, with Peter Webber ('Girl With a Pearl Earring'), was part of the festival.
Bollywood actress Manisha Koirala won the Spirit of Inspiration award from Sun Mark Ltd for her outstanding work in supporting the earthquake appeal in Nepal.
"We admire Manisha's work in cinema where she was known for taking on difficult roles and her support for social causes and for those who have no voice and whose message needs to be spread," the Foundation said.
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Delhi-born actor Suraj Sharma, whose lead role in film "Umrika" helmed the festival, was the recipient of the festival's Outstanding Young Talent award.
"The festival has been so kind, awarding me it's first outstanding young actor award and opening the festival with our film 'Umrika'! The response for our film has been better than we could ever imagine. My gratitude goes out to the festival for doing such a great job!" said Sharma.
Satyajit Ray Short Film Award in association with the Bagri Foundation went to "Khargosh" (Rabbit), while Lebara Play Audience award went to "Nachom-la Kumpasar".
The Bagri Foundation London Indian Film Festival's Lebara Play audience award was a very close race this year, with Fox's Indian National Award winning feature "Kaakkaa Muttai" (The Crow's Egg) by M Manikandan pipped to the post by sleeper festival super-hit "Nachom-ia Kumpasar" (Let's Dance to the Rhythm), directed by Bardroy Barretto, a film about Goan Jazz and its impact on Hindi film music.
The film was so popular with audiences that additional screenings had to be added at Cineworld cinemas during the festival, to cope with demand.
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Bardroy Barretto, director of "Nachom-ia Kumpasar", said, "I am grateful for this award and to the team that made this happen. It goes to show that every region, every culture has its own authentic stories, that today's global audience is willing to celebrate, but when it stays true to its local audience. This film was our tribute to the music and musicians of Goa, and this award reiterates the need to keep it alive in every way possible. I thank Goa for the music."
Aditya Thakur, CEO of sponsor Lebara Play, said, "The Audience Award is unique because it's voted for by the viewers, so congratulations to 'Nachom-ia Kumpasar'. We're particularly proud to sponsor this award because our new entertainment service, Lebara Play, is all about meeting the needs of an undeserved audience, so they can enjoy thousands of movies they miss and love – including the films of ICON Award winner Mani Ratnam – anytime, anywhere."
The festival also celebrated the 20th anniversary of all time Indian classic "Bombay", directed by Ratnam, and starring Nepal-born actress Manisha Koirala, with both talents present for a special charity screening of the film, with a gala event at Grange Hotels St Paul's, to raise much needed funds to rebuild homes in earthquake torn Nepal.
Manisha herself has been in the thick of this, working tirelessly to help, where the critical challenge is to shelter the homeless before the winter. This charity event raised funds for UK registered charity Indian Ocean Disaster Relief Fund (IODR), who are working in Nepal.
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The director of The Bagri Foundation London Indian Film Festival, Cary Sawhney stated, "We are really pleased that this year, the festival has expanded in stature and that we can highlight through our new awards just some of the many achievements of filmmakers and actors from India who may otherwise go unsung by the broader world film community.