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IFFM 2020: Kerala girl wins Shah Rukh Khan La Trobe University PhD scholarship

The award ceremony took place during Indian Film Festival of Melboure's 10-year celebrations on Wednesday night.    

Shah Rukh Khan with Gopika Kottantharayil Bhasi

Our Correspondent

At the last edition of the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne (IFFM) in 2019, a PhD scholarship was announced in the name of actor Shah Rukh Khan. The selected student would be able to pursue his or her PhD from the La Trobe University in Melbourne. 

Researcher Gopika Kottantharayil Bhasi from Thissur, Kerala, was awarded the scholarship by Khan last night at the prelude for the IFFM 2020 in Mumbai. Her research areas include farming practices through animal science, ecology and molecular studies. 

After handing over the scholarship to Bhasi, Khan said, “I am a staunch believer in education and I would like to congratulate Gopika. Way forward for everyone is to gain an education, and there’s never an end to learning. The key to empower women the world over, is only by providing them with education. I think education in India or anywhere else in the world is a step forward.” 

Khan also said that Bhasi is fortunate to be studying at La Trobe University. “It’s a fantastic university and I am glad she’s getting this opportunity to do a PhD on her research. I admire Gopika’s dedication and determination. This scholarship will enable her to travel to La Trobe in Melbourne, Australia where she will pursue her dreams of helping to improve India’s agriculture sector. I wish her well,” he added. 

Khan was also the IFFM ambassador last year. Speaking about his association with the festival, he said, “I would like to personally thank festival director Mitu Bhowmik Lange. I take myself as the first-hand ambassador of Melbourne and I attended the Indian film festival of Melbourne last year and it was such a warm and hospitable experience.” 

Last night was also the 10-year celebrations of IFFM. Apart from Khan, the event was attended by the likes of Karan Johar, Zoya Akhtar, Rima Das, Arjun Kapoor, Malaika Arora, Tabu, Sriram Raghavan, Vijay Sethupathi and Thiagarajan Kumararaja. 

“It has been an overwhelming journey that has gathered strength from all quarters in the past 10 years,” said Lange at the event. “The content landscape has changed and it’s heartening to see lines between commercial and independent cinema blurring. It’s the celebration of great stories now. IFFM continues its dedicated work towards supporting diverse voices and cinema.”

The IFFM 2020 will take place from 8-17 August. 

Related topics

Indian Film Festival of Melbourne