Shyam Benegal is an iconic Indian director and screenwriter. With his first four feature films Ankur (1973), Nishant (1975), Manthan (1976) and Bhumika (1977) he was part of a new genre, which started the movement for Alternate cinema. His films Mandi, Junoon, Trikal, Sardari Begum, Zubeida are also considered masterpieces. Benegal was awarded the Padma Shri in 1976, the Padma Bhushan in 1991 and in 2007, he was awarded the highest award in Indian cinema for lifetime achievement, the Dadasaheb Phalke Award. He has won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Hindi seven times.
Celina Jaitly is a popular actor, model and activist. A former beauty queen and model, she won the Miss India in 2001 and was the 4th runner-up at Miss Universe 2001. She made her acting debut with the 2003 thriller Janasheen and since then has acted in several films including Silsiilay, No Entry, Apna Sapna Money Money, Shakalaka Boom Boom, etc. Celina is a vehement activist and spokesperson for the LGBTQ movement in India. She has been involved in various activities concerning human rights, women and children health, and sex workers rehabilitation in India for the past 10 years.
ADVISORY BOARD MEMBERS
A critically acclaimed award-winning filmmaker, Arunaraje passed out of the Film Institute of India with a gold medal in 1969 and was the first trained girl technician to join the industry. Some of her features are Shaque, Gehrayee, Situm, Rihaee, Bhairavi, Keh Do Naand Tum.
Apart from teaching, she has been part of decision-making bodies in many film schools. She has served on many juries including National Film Awards and has been a strong voice for documentaries. She has won 5 National awards for her documentaries, ‘Mallika Sarabhai’, ‘A New Paradigm’ and ‘Behind the Glass Wall’ She has been a Landmark Forum Leader and has led transformational programs as a Life Coach.
Dolly Thakore has worn many hats –starting her career on Radio, she became known as a News Reader on Bombay Doordarshan! And simultaneously, a writer of many personal columns, and reviewer of English and Hindi Films and Theatre – in almost every English daily and periodical of that time. She has been a Communications Consultant for numerous Corporate Houses. Her two passions have remained the stage and social Work. She has been part of the ensemble of actors of the hugely successful Vagina Monologues, which has been running for ten years. And between all this, she juggles her time with NGOS. Among others, currently she is the national co ordinator for Laadli Girl Child Campaign media award.
Meghna Ghai Puri
Meghna Ghai Puri is the President of Whistling Woods International. Promoted by filmmaker Subhash Ghai, Mukta Arts Limited & Filmcity Mumbai, Whistling Woods International is Asia’s largest Film, Television, Animation and Media Arts institute. She holds an advanced diploma in Communications, Advertising and Marketing and a BSc Honours degree in Business Management from Kings College, London. Earlier in her career she managed marketing and Business Development for Mukta Arts Ltd and was associated with films like Pardes, Taal, and Yaadein.
She has been associated with key businesses in the Indian entertainment industry through prominent projects including the ambitious stage celebration of 100 years of Indian cinema – Cinema 100.
Nandini Sardesai, former head of the sociology department at St Xavier’s College, Mumbai, has been involved in social causes. In 2003, she led a successful campaign for gender equality at the Bombay Gymkhana, which led to women receiving the right to vote and electoral representation in the hitherto exclusive male committees. She has a doctorate in research with focus on Sociology of Sports.
She is a part of the Maharashtra Women’s Commission and is a member of the Censor Board of Film Certification. She is also a member of the review committee for film selection, for IFFI, Goa and was a resource person as a social scientist for research done by the French company Added Value for the new Mumbai Airport.
Roy Wadia hails from the Wadia Movietone family. His brother was the late filmmaker and gay activist Riyad Wadia, Roy worked at CNN for 12 years, helping launch and produce much of the global broadcaster’s Asia-Pacific news programming. In 2003, Roy switched careers by joining the World Health Organisation’s China office as its communications and advocacy officer, working on campaigns ranging from HIV to environmental health. He was Executive Director of Heroes Project, the HIV communications and advocacy NGO that was part of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s Avahan programme. Roy shuttles between Bombay and Vancouver, Canada, where he has a home with his husband Alan.
Shernaz Patel has been a part of the English theatre in India for the past 25 years. Starting with The Diary Of Anne Frank in 1984, she went on to play leading roles in such milestone plays as Letters to My Daughter, Antigone, Nuts, Six Degrees Of Separation and Love Letters. Her recent theatre work includes One On One, Blackbird (META Award for Best Actress, 2010) Molly Sweeney, Breathe In Breathe Out and Class of ‘84. She is also a partner is one of India’s leading theatre company’s Rage and has been instrumental in running their successful new play writing programme, Writers’ Bloc. Aside from theatre she has also been successfully acting in Indian cinema ever since she worked in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Black in 2004 for which she was nominated for numerous awards. Her most recent films include Talaash, Guzaarish (Screen Award winner for Best Supporting Actress 2011 and numerous nominations), I Am, Lamha, Rockstar, Love Wrinkle Free and Little Zizou. She holds a Masters degree in Acting from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. She is also a television actress and an established voiceover with over 1000 commercials and corporate films to her credit.