Shruti Haasan takes best debut award at South Filmfare

Plus: Dubai to launch film innovation summit, Richa Chadda on life after Gangs, and Swiss watch company launches Gulf film grant.

Shruti Haasan. Razan Alzayani / The National
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The Tamil drama Aadukalam was the big winner at the 59th South Filmfare Awards, held on Saturday in Chennai. The film, about cockfighting in India, picked up five awards: best film, best director for Vetri Maaran, best actor for Dhanush, best cinematography and best musical direction. The 26-year-old actress Shruti Haasan won the best debut award for her role in the action film Gabbar Singh and the trophy was presented to her by her father, the actor Kamal Haasan. The romantic drama Engeyum Eppothum won two awards for its leading ladies: the best actress for Anjali and best supporting actress for Ananya.

Dubai to launch film innovation summit

Dubai is to host the world's first Cinematic Innovation Summit, thanks to a collaboration between the Dubai International Film Festival, the Centre for New Cinema and the event producer Naseba. The summit, due to take place on December 8 and 9, will discuss how technological advancements have revolutionised the industry, from production to distribution to viewing, with 200 names specialising in film, games and technology set to attend. More details are to be announced, but there are already plans to make it an annual event. "In three to five years, I want this summit to be a place you go to find out what is coming in cinema in the future," said DIFF's chairman Abdulhamid Juma. * Alex Ritman

Richa Chadda: Gangs was a real career boost

The actress Richa Chadda says her appearance in Anurag Kashyap's acclaimed Gangs of Wasseypur has brought her countless new offers. "My phone has not stopped ringing. It has changed my life and I'm very happy," she said. "Some of the big names in the industry like Zoya Akhtar, Vishal Bhardwaj and Dibakar Banerjee have made efforts to call me. I'm overwhelmed." Chadda, 26, said she has already signed on to some of them. "I have a film with Mira Nair. Then I'm also doing a film called Tamanchey. It's nearly completed. I have also signed for a very big film, but I can't talk about it. All I can say is it's with one of the biggest directors in the country." * IANS

Swiss company launches Gulf film grant

The Swiss watch company IWC Schaffhausen is extending its partnership with the Dubai International Film Festival by launching a US$100,000 (Dh367,000) fund for directors from the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and Bahrain. To be eligible for the first IWC Filmmaker Award, the feature-length fiction projects must be in the development stage. Directors must be citizens of a Gulf nation; producers can be of any nationality. The filmmaking team must submit a comprehensive dossier including full treatment, budget outlines and work samples. Entries will be accepted until August 31 at Three submissions will be shortlisted by an independent jury in October, and a winner named on December 10, during the ninth DIFF.