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Festival Patron and Advisory Board

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KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival is honoured and privileged to have the renowned filmmaker and eminent advocate of good cinema Mr.Shyam Benegal as our Festival Patron. The festival also has an eminent Advisory Board. 


Festival Patron - Shyam Benegal

I support KASHISH as it helps to extend understanding of people in the broadest possible way and deepens the sense of humanity by including people of alternate sexuality. - Shyam Benegal

Shyam Benegal is a prolific Indian director and screenwriter. With his first four feature films Ankur (1973), Nishant (1975), Manthan (1976), Bhumika (1977) and Susman (1987) he created a new genre, which has now come to be called the "parallel cinema" in India although he himself has expressed dislike in the term preferring his work to be called New or Alternate cinema. He won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Hindi seven times. He has also won the Golden Palm at Cannes for Nishant in 1976, the Golden Bear at Berlinale for Ankur in 1974 and numerous other international awards. He was awarded the Padma Shri in 1976 and the Padma Bhushan in 1991. On 8 August 2007, he was awarded the highest award in Indian cinema for lifetime achievement, the Dadasaheb Phalke Award for the year 2005.
Shyam Benegal is the Chairman of the extremely popular Mumbai Film Festival organized by MAMI.


Advisory Board


Nandini Sardesai

Nandini Sardesai

 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.


Dolly Thakore

Dolly Thakore

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.

Roy Wadia

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

Shernaz Patel

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.

Meghna Ghai Puri

Meghna Ghai Puri

Meghna Gha iPuri 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.

Jenni Olson

A queer media historian, activist, author, festival programmer and online pioneer Jenni Olson is one of the world’s leading experts on LGBT film history. Most notably, she served as consulting producer on the Sundance and SXSW hit, By Hook or By Crook as well as co-producing Guinevere Turner’s most recent short drama, Late. Her associate producer credits include the 1996 British Channel 4 documentary, Jodie: An Icon (an exploration of Jodie Foster as an icon for lesbians) and the IFC documentary, Fabulous! The Story of Queer
Cinema. She is currently VP of e-commerce and marketing at Wolfe Video and sits on the advisory boards of Outfest’s Legacy Project for LGBT Film Preservation, and Canyon Cinema.

David Gere

Professor David Gere is the Director of the Art and Global Health Center at the University of California, Los Angeles, and Professor of Arts Activism in the Department of World Arts and Cultures. He is also Co-Director (with Gideon Mendel) of Through Positive Eyes, a participatory photography project featuring people living with HIV/AIDS around the world. His book How to Make Dances in an Epidemic: Tracking Choreography in the Age of AIDS received the award for outstanding book publication from the Congress on Research in Dance. He founded MAKE ART/STOP AIDS, a network of artists throughout the world who are working to intervene in the AIDS epidemic.

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