Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Padmaavat and Rajkumar Hirani's Sanju are leading the nomination pack for the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne (IFFM) Awards 2018.
Simi Garewal, Nikkhil Advani, Sue Maslin, Jill Bilcock, Andrew Anastaisos and Geoffrey Wright will come together as the IFFM Jury at the gala, billed as the southern hemisphere's greatest annual celebration of Indian cinema.
The jury members will choose winners across six categories -- Best Film, Best Indie Film, Best Actor, Best Director, Best Supporting Role and Best Director.
Padman, Hichki, Padmaavat, Sanju, Secret Superstar, Raazi, Mahanati and Rangasthalam are competing for Best Film, while the contenders in the Best Indie Film category are In The Shadows, Village Rockstars, Balekempa, Up, Down and Sideways (Documentary), Mayurakshi, Garbage, Sir and Love Sonia.
In the Best Actor category, Ranbir Kapoor's Sanju act is up against Varun Dhawan (October), Ranveer Singh (Padmaavat), Akshay Kumar (Padman), Manoj Bajpayee (In The Shadows), Fahadh Faasil (The Exhibit and the Eyewitness), Soumitra Chaterjee (Mayurakshi) and Shahid Kapoor (Padmaavat).
Among the Best Actress nominees are Rani Mukerji (Hichki), Vidya Balan (Tumhari Sulu), Deepika Padukone (Padmaavat), Alia Bhatt (Raazi), Bhanita Das (Village Rockstars), Keerthy Suresh (Mahanati), Tillotama Shome (Sir) and Zaira Wasim (Secret Superstar).
For the Best Supporting Performance award, Vicky Kaushal (Sanju), Ranvir Shorey (In The Shadows), Samantha Akkineni (Mahanati), Richa Chadha (Love Sonia), Freida Pinto (Love Sonia), Trimala Adhikari (Garbage) and Meher Vij (Secret Superstar) are in competition.
As for the Best Director category, Rajkumar Hirani for Sanju, Shoojit Sircar for October, R. Balki for Padman, Siddharth P Malhotra for Hichki, Advait Chandan for Secret Superstar, Sanjay Leela Bhansali for Padmaavat, Rima Das for Village Rockstars, Dipesh Jain for In the Shadows, Ere Gowda for Balekempa, Suresh Triveni for Tumhari Sulu, Meghna Gulzar for Raazi, Tabrez Noorani for Love Sonia and Rohena Gera for Sir are competing.
To be held from August 10-22 under the theme of 'Inclusion', this year's gala -- with over 60 films in 22 languages -- explores the diversity of contemporary Indian cinema, from Bollywood box-office hits, documentaries and art-house premieres, to a Bollywood dance competition and master classes with key figures from the Indian film industry.
IFFM Director Mitu Bhowmick Lange said in a statement: "Our competition section is as diverse as the films and people who come for the festival. It has some mainstream, indie and regional films but the one thing they share no matter what the language or theme, it is fantastic eye-catching cinema."
She said the fest's jury is a mix of Australian and Indian talents who share a common thread -- the love for cinema.