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Vidya Balan, the Victoria star!

Bollywood actor Vidya Balan will be the brand ambassador for the 2013 Indian Film Festival in Melbourne, according to Australian Minister for Tourism and Major Events, Innovation, Services and Small Business, Louise Asher, who is in Mumbai as part of Victoria Week – a programme to showcase Victoria’s cultural, creative and business strengths in India.

The minister made this announcement at the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne Industry event in Mumbai on Saturday where she described Balan as ‘one of Indian cinema’s most respected actors and a genuine box-office drawcard.’

‘Securing such a high-profile actor as our brand ambassador adds to the prestige of the festival and Vidya’s attendance at next year’s festival – In April, will be sure to delight our local Indian film fans,’ she said, while also stating that the festival will pay rich tribute to the late legendary filmmaker Yash Chopra who was supposed to attend this festival but passed away in Mumbai recently.

‘Mr Chopra had a deep relationship with Victoria as he was a patron of the festival and that he had shot two major blockbusters there – Salaam Namaste and Chak De India. The festival is honoured to be showcasing Mr Chopra’s masterpieces as part of the Festival,’ Asher said, adding, ‘Delivering an Indian film festival in Melbourne is a key part of the Victorian coalition government’s commitment to closer engagement between India and Victoria.’

She said the inaugural Film Festival of Melbourne was held in 2012, delivering on the government’s election pledge to develop an Indian Film Festival and bring the best of Indian cinema to Victorian audiences and screen practitioners. ‘The festival will also play a significant role in promoting Victoria as a cosmopolitan, multicultural centre for screen excellence – strong in skills, infrastructure, locations, languages and cultural understanding,’ she noted.

 ‘Melbourne is like a second home to me and I look forward to being back,’ she said.
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