IFFLA: ‘Chauranga’ wins Best film award, ‘Kaaka Muttai’ bags audience choice

NEW DELHI: Filmmaker Bikas Ranjan Mishra's Chauranga won the Best Feature (Grand Jury) award at the 13th annual Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA).

M. Manikandan's Kaaka Muttai won the Best Feature award (Audience Choice) at the festival, which was held from 8 to 12 April at the ArcLight Hollywood.

Actresses Kalki Koechlin and Shweta Tripathi were in a tie as winners of the Best Actress award for Margarita with a Straw and Haraamkhor respectively. 

Chauranga, co-produced by Sanjay Suri and Onir, stars Suri and Tannishtha Chatterjee. It is a fictional account of six days in a dark corner of India, telling a story of violence of class oppression that still exists in rural India.

Onir tweeted, “Super Proud that our film #CHAURANGA won the BEST FEATURE - GRAND JURY prize at #IFFLA :). (sic)".

"Thrilled ! #CHAURANGA wins Best Feature (GRAND JURY) prize at #IFFLA2015 @bikas @IamOnir @TannishthaC @ArpitaCP," Suri tweeted.

The Best Short Film (Audience Choice) award was given to Safar by Pratyusha Gupta, while the Grand Jury prize in the same segment went to Dandekar Makes A Sandwich by Leena Pendharkar.

A total of around 25 films including sixteen features – among them the opening filmHaraamkhor by Shlok Sharma and several shorts including Jai Ho on A R Rahman by Delhi-based filmmaker Umesh Aggarwal – were screened at the Festival.

Starring Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Haraamkhor has been produced by Anurag Kashyap and Guneet Monga.

The closing film was Dhanak, a coming-of-age film directed by Nagesh Kukunoor. The centerpiece film was the British comedy One Crazy Thing directed by Amit Gupta. The movie stars Ray Panthaki and Daisy Bevan and centers on a man struggling to overcome the notoriety from his sex tape. 

Actor-producer Abhay Deol was a member of the jury and the other narrative jury members were filmmaker Sean Baker, HFPA member and frequent board director Yoram Kahana, Warner Bros EVP - physical production Ravi Mehta and author and film curator Berenice Reynaud.

The shorts jury include actor Danny Pudi, Outfest director of programming Lucy Mukerjee-Brown, Sundance shorts programmer Lisa Ogdie and Heather Morris Washington, manager of the Emerging Writers Fellowship at Universal.

The festival saw four world premieres, seven North American bows, two American and 10 Los Angeles premieres from not just India, but also the US, the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Cuba, in 10 languages including English, Spanish and German.

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