Selection Committee

Sohag Sen

Sohag Sen is an iconic master trainer and theatre personality in India. She remains the pioneer in the introduction of workshop induced texts and pedagogy in the arts scene. She runs Ensemble, a 37-year-old theatre society and is currently showing her new work Chhoto Chobi in Kolkata. Having completed 50 years in theatre, Sohag has a legacy of conducting workshops for countless feature films and even international productions. She is on the board of many prestigious arts bodies and has received the Dinabandhu Shomman which is the most prestigious award in theatre in Bengal.

Joseph Mitchell

Currently Artistic Director of OzAsia Festival in Adelaide, Joseph is an experienced festival and theatre director. Under Joseph’s stewardship, OzAsia Festival has been referred to as Australia’s ‘necessary festival’ by Real Time Arts for its unique focus on contemporary Asian arts. Previous roles include Executive Producer, Brisbane Festival (2011-2013) and Resident Director at Queensland Theatre Company (2006-2011). Joseph has also directed many acclaimed productions including Boojum for the State Theatre Company of South Australia and numerous productions at Queensland Theatre Company including Waiting for Godot, The Caucasian Chalk Circle, Ruby Moon, Man Equals Man and Beckett x 3.

Ajit Rai

Ajit Rai is a leading film and theatre critic and cultural journalist of India with more than 30 years of experience. Currently he is a film and theatre critic at Jansatta and The Indian Express. Earlier he has been Editor of Rang Prasang, an international journal of cinema and theatre, National School of Drama, Ministry of Culture, Govt. Of India and Founder Editor of Drishyantar, a monthly magazine of cinema, TV, culture and media by Doordarshan, Ministry of I&B, Govt. of India. He made a world record in theatre criticism in 2010 when 25 of his articles were published on 25 consecutive days during the international theatre festival, Bharat Rang Mahotsav by National School of Drama New Delhi. Ajit Rai started a Theatre Appreciation Course for National School of Drama in 2010. He has been a member of the selection committee for Bharat Rang Mahotsav since 2009. He was on the jury of the Kalidas Samman, Government of Madhya Pradesh.

Deepika Deshpande-Amin

Deepika Deshpande-Amin is a well-known actress in Indian films, theatre, TV and web series. Her theatre credits include Wedding Album; Boiled Beans on Toast by Girish Karnad; Sammy! by Partap Sharma; August Osage County by Tracy Letts; Womanly Voices; Pereira’s Bakery; Kanyadaan by Vijay Tendulkar and Baghdad Ka Ghulam in Hindi and Ammaldar in Marathi. Many of these plays were performed all over India, UK, US, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and Dubai. Deepika has directed 3 plays and worked with renowned theatre directors like Barry John, Lillette Dubey and Mahesh Dattani. Deepika's films include popular films like Fan (Yashraj Films with ShahRukh Khan); Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhaniya (Dharma Productions); the superhit Raanjhanaa and critically acclaimed films like Gone Kesh; Well Done Abba by Shyam Benegal; and Rough Book by Ananth Mahadevan. Her forthcoming films are Ram Prasad ki Tehrvi with Naseer and Konkona; and Invisible Rain with Shabana Azmi. Her TV series include Farmaan (Best Actress award); Shyam Benegal’s historic series Samvidhaan and the highly acclaimed Siyaasat. Her web series What the Folks and Desi Mom has garnered her immense popularity. She plays the guitar, sings in a choir and has trained in Indian classical vocal.

Deepa Punjani

Deepa Punjani has been deeply engaged with theatre and theatre criticism for close to two decades. Her M.Phil thesis (2005) studied the work of select Indian women theatre practitioners in the broad context of feminism and gender representation on the Indian stage. Deepa is also a lawyer and a legal journalist. In her latter role, she is keenly interested in the dialogue between the judiciary and civil society, and in the intersection between law, politics, and culture.

Akhila Krishnamurthy

Akhila Krishnamurthy is an independent journalist and the founder of Aalaap, a boutique arts management and consulting company based in Chennai. Earlier, through a 15-year career in journalism, she worked across leading publications in India, including The Times of India. As a freelance journalist, Akhila has contributed essays and features to The Hindu, the India Today Group, Outlook, Tehelka, Open, and Elle, to name just a few. Akhila also works as a consultant for The Hindu's marquee events. She is passionate about artistes and the world they inhabit, and is constantly investigating the many shifts that make it so dynamic and exciting. Akhila has been a speaker at the TEDxNapierbridge platform where she drew parallels on the principles of entrepreneurship and parenting. More recently, she was part of the CII Young Indians Platform where she shared her insights on how arts and business are inextricably linked. Akhila loves long distance running and Ashtanga Yoga.