Jury Members

Dolly Thakore

Dolly Thakore is a veteran actor, newscaster, columnist and casting director who has worked in advertising, communications and public relations. She is also a staunch social activist, particularly for children and destitute women, and for Citizens for Peace. Her notable stage credits include The Vagina Monologues, Linda in Death of Salesman, and Kate in All My Sons. In a theatre career spanning over 50 years she has worked with directors like Adi Marzban, Joy Michael, Alyque Padamsee, Janak Toprani, and Arghya Lahiri. Most recently she has written her memoirs, Regrets, None, with Arghya Lahiri.

Kulbhushan Kharbanda

Kulbhushan Kharbanda  started his career in theatre by forming a theatre group called Abhiyaan with his college friends. In 1972 he moved to Kolkata and started working with Padatik theatre group under director Shyamanand Jalan. Later, in Mumbai, he worked extensively with Shyam Benegal. Best known for portraying the villain "Shakaal" in the 1980 Hindi movie Shaan, Kharbanda has also received critical acclaim for his roles in Parallel Cinema and in several Bollywood films. Most recently, he appears in Manikarnika (The Queen of Jhansi) and in the Amazon web series Mirzapur.

Kusum Haidar

Kusum Haidar, a widely acclaimed actor of the Delhi stage, was introduced to theatre by Ebrahim Alkazi at the Theatre Unit in Bombay. She was a founding member of Yatrik, the theatre company which produced classical plays of the 60s and works by India’s new dramatists. Haidar has been the recipient of multiple awards, including the French Government Scholarship for specialised training in theatre arts; two Best Actress Awards from the Delhi Natya Sangh Academy for her roles in Dinner with the Family and Vasna Kand; and the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for Acting, among many others. 

Mahesh Dattani

Mahesh Dattani is a renowned playwright, stage director, and filmmaker. He is known for plays like Dance Like a Man, Tara, Final Solutions, Where Did I Leave My Purdah, Gauhar, and most recently, Snapshots of a Fervid Sunrise. In 1998, he won the prestigious Sahitya Akademi Award for an anthology of his work, Final Solutions and Other Plays. He is the Co-Founder and Artistic Director of Playpen Performing Arts Trust, Mumbai, a group committed to developing and producing new works of drama. As a director, he also works with ICS Theatre Company, New Jersey.

Raghubir Yadav

Raghubir Yadav, born in Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh, India, is a highly accomplished Indian actor, music composer, and singer known for his significant contributions to Indian cinema and theatre. With a career spanning several decades, Yadav has showcased his versatility through memorable performances across a variety of roles.

Smriti Rajgarhia

Smriti Rajgarhia is Director of  Serendipity Arts Foundation and Serendipity Arts Festival. An architect with a  Masters in Design, she began her arts career fourteen years ago in New Delhi, where she eventually created a museum space and archive for the collection. Rajgarhia has also curated exhibitions on subjects that reflect the history and relevance of archives. With Serendipity Arts Foundation and Serendipity Arts Festival, she endeavours to explore newer forms of representation and re-contextualise the kind of programming institutions need to engage with to widen the demographic of the audience for the arts in India. Her personal interest also lies in adapting urban spaces to presentation of the arts, reclaiming the urban and questioning the impact of art and cultural interventions for a city/state/country.

Vinay Pathak

Vinay Pathak is a Mumbai-based actor-writer who has been actively involved in Indian cinema and theatre for over two decades. Whether delivering comic indulgence in films like Bheja Fry, Khosla ka Ghosla, Chalo Dilli, Dasvidania, Rab ne bana di Jodi, or portraying nuanced character sketches in Gaur Hari Dastan, Johnny Gaddar, Island City, Dust, Badlapur, or the recent Chintu ka Birthday, Pathak believes in total honesty in his craft, be it theatre, film, or TV. His critically acclaimed solo performance piece, Nothing Like Lear, an adaptation of Shakespeare’s King Lear directed by Rajat Kapoor, has been travelling across myriad venues and theatre festivals in the country and overseas for almost a decade now.