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Salman Rushdie
SALMAN RUSHDIE Born in 1947, Rushdie is a British Indian novelist and essayist. He was born in Bombay, educated in London, England where he lived for many years; he now lives in New York. He is a critically acclaimed, enormously popular author, a famously generous mentor and teacher, and an energetic, fearless advocate for civil liberties and free speech. His novels, collections, children’s books and essays including Grimus, Midnight's Children, Shame, The Satanic Verses, The Moor's Last Sigh, Shalimar the Clown. The Enchantress of Florence and Luka and the Fire of Life etc. have reinvented and rejuvenated fiction writing worldwide. His novel Midnight’s Children was presented as a play by the Royal Shakespeare company and adapted into a film by Deepa Mehta. His children’s book Haroun and the Sea of Stories was presented as an Opera by Charles Wuorinen with libretto by James Fenton, and premiered at the New York City Opera in Fall 2004.
Mira Nair
MIRA NAIR Accomplished Film Director /Writer /Producer Mira Nair was born in India in 1957. Nair began her artistic career as an actor before turning her attention to film. She found instant success as a filmmaker, winning a number of awards including a National Film Award, International Film Festival awards and was a nominee at the Academy Awards, Golden Globes, BAFTA Awards and the Filmfare awards. She has also received India’s third highest civilian award, the Padma Bhushan presented by the president of India. She has a production company titled Mirabai Films. She is most famously known for Vanity Fair (2004), The Namesake (2006), Amelia and her newest feature film, The Reluctant Fundamentalist (2013).
Deepa Mehta
DEEPA MEHTA Born in 1950, Mehta is an Indo-Canadian film director and screen-writer. Before immigrating to Canada, she began her career making documentaries in India. Deepa Mehta is a filmmaker who has been described as a "transnational artist". Her movies are known for telling universally meaningful stories and have played at every major film festival; receiving awards and recognition, and have been distributed around the world. She is most famously known for her Elements Trilogy Fire (1996), Earth (1998), and Water (2005). Most recently Mehta collaborated on the screenplay for Midnight’s Children with author Salman Rushdie. The film was released in September 2012 at the Toronto International Film festival.
Madhur Jaffrey
MADHUR JAFFREY Born in 1933 in Delhi, Madhur Jaffrey is an Indian award-winning actress and best-selling cookbook author who introduced the Western world to the many cuisines of India. Knopf published her first book An Invitation to Indian Cooking, in 1973, and she has been the host of a series, "Madhur Jaffrey's Indian Cookery," for BBC television. She has appeared in more than 20 films, including Six degrees of Separation (1993) and Merchant Ivory's Shakespeare Wallah (1965), Heat and Dust (1983) and Cotton Mary (1999), which she co-directed with Ismail Merchant. She was honored with a C.B.E (Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) in 2004 in recognition of her services to cultural relations between the United Kingdom, India and the United States through her achievements in film, television and cookery. She has written more than 15 books and now lives in New York City.
Shashi Tharoor
SHASHI THAROOR Author, United Nations peace-keeper, refugee worker, human rights activist, Minister of State for Human Resources Development, an elected member of the Indian Parliament and a former Minister of State for External Affairs, Dr. Shashi Tharoor straddles several worlds of experience. He has written numerous books and has been a columnist in each of India’s three best-known English language newspapers, The Hindu, Times of India and Indian Express. Tharoor began writing at the age of six and he was first published at the age of 10 in the Sunday edition of ‘The Free Press Journal’. Each of his books has been a bestseller in India and beyond.
Gurinder Chadha
GURINDER CHADHABorn in Nairobi in 1960, Gurinder Chadha is a British film director of Sikh Indian Origin. She is best known for her hit films Bhaji on the Beach (1993), Bend it like Beckham (2002), Bride and Prejudice (2004) and Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging (2008). After starting her career in radio in the mid-1980’s, Chadha moved into television as a BBC news reporter. She went on to direct award-winning documentaries for the British Film Institute, BBC and Channel Four, and in 1989 released the documentary I’m British but… for Channel 4, which followed the lives of young British Asians. Chadha has since then received several Honorary Doctorates from British universities and was awarded an O.B.E (Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) in 2006 for her services to the British film industry.
Shyam Benegal
SHYAM BENEGALShyam, born in Hyderabad in 1934, is a prolific Indian director and Screenwriter. With his first four feature films Ankur (1973), Nishant (1975), Manthan (1976) and Bhumika (1977) he created a new genre, which has come to be called the ‘middle cinema’ in India. He has expressed dislike of the term, preferring his work to be called ‘New or Alternate Cinema’. He is more famously known for his films from the late 90’s and early 2000’s including Mammo (1995), Sardari Begum (1996), and Zubeidaa (2001) with which he entered the Bollywood mainstream for the first time. His more recent projects include Welcome to Sajjanpur (2008) and Well done Abba (2010). He was awarded the Padma Shri in 1976 and the Padma Bhushan in 1991. On 8 August 2007, Benegal was awarded the highest award in Indian cinema for lifetime achievement, the Dadasaheb Phalke Award for the year 2005. He has won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Hindi seven times.
M.F. HUSAINThe late Maqbool Fida Husain more commonly known as MF Husain was an Indian-Qatari painter and film director. Associated with Indian modernism in the 1940’s, his narrative paintings executed in a modified cubist style can be caustic and funny as well as serious and somber. One of the most celebrated and internationally recognized Indian artists of the 20th century, he also received recognition as a printmaker, photographer, and filmmaker. Primarily self-taught, Husain painted cinema posters in Mumbai early in his career. His work included themes and topics as diverse as Mother Teresa, the Ramayana, Mohandas K. Gandhi, the British Raj and motifs of Indian urban and rural life.
Ismail Merchant
ISMAIL MERCHANTThe late Ismail Merchant was an Indian-born film producer and director, best known for the results of his famously long collaboration and partnership with director James Ivory and their film company, Merchant Ivory Productions that also included screenwriter Ruth Prawer Jhabvala. Their films won six Academy Awards. Merchant succeeded as an independent producer in Hollywood for more than 40 years. His strength lay in funding his projects, particularly in his ability to produce films for several million dollars less than those of his contemporaries. Merchant was also the recipient of a Padma Bhushan in 2002. He also directed a number of films including the Mystic Masseur (2002), Cotton Mary (1999), The Proprieter (1996) etc.
Vijay Tendulkar
VIJAY TENDULKARBorn in 1928, the late Vijay Tendulkar was a leading Indian playwright, movie and television writer, literary essayist, political journalist and social commentator primarily in Marathi. Many of Tendulkar’s plays derived inspiration from real-life incidents or social upheavals, which provides clear light on harsh realities. For over five years Tendulkar had been a highly influential dramatist and theater personality in Maharashtra. He is best known for his plays Shanta Court Chalu Aahe (1967), Ghashiram Kotwal (1972) and Sakharam Binder (1972). In his writing career that spanned more that five decades, Tendulkar wrote 27 full-length plays and 25 one-act plays. His plays have been translated and performed in many Indian languages.
Shabana Azmi
SHABANA AZMIShabana Azmi is an Indian actress of film, television and theater. She made her debut in 1974 and soon became one of the leading actresses of parallel cinema, an Indian new wave movement known for its serious content and neo-realism. Regarded as one of the finest actors in India, Azmi’s performances in films in a variety of genres have generally earned her praise and awards, which include a record of five wins of the National Film Award for Best Actress and several international honors. She has also received four Filmfare Awards. Azmi has appeared in over 120 Hindi films, both mainstream and independent cinema, and since 1988 she has acted in several foreign projects. In addition to acting, Azmi is a social and women’s rights activist, a Goodwill Ambassador of the United Nations Population Fund, and a member of the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Indian Parliament. She is married to Indian poet and screenwriter Javed Akhtar.
The Indo-American Arts Council is a 501 ©3 not-for-profit secular arts organization passionately dedicated to promoting, showcasing and building an awareness of artists of Indian origin in the performing arts, visual arts, literary arts and folk arts. For information please visit

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