A Film Institute graduate, Adoor Gopalakrishnan has written and directed twelve feature films and more than two dozen non-fiction films, many of which have been screened at and received critical acclaim at major film festivals around the world. The International Film Critics’ Prize has gone to him six times successively. He received the British Film Institute (BFI) award for the Most Original and Imaginative film of 1982 for In 2004 the French Govt. honoured him with the title, Commander of the Order of Arts & Letters. He was given the Dada Phalke Award, India’s highest national honour for cinema, in 2005. India’s top civilian honour, Padma Vibhushan, went to him in 2006 and he has bagged lifetime achievement awards from Cairo, Denver and New Jersey, Colombo and MAMI (Bombay) festivals. He has published four books on theory and aesthetics of cinema.
Described as ‘India’s first literary popstar’ by world-renowned film director Shekhar Kapur, Amish’s unique combination of crackling story-telling, religious symbolism and profound philosophies have made him an overnight publishing phenomenon, with spiritual guru Deepak Chopra hailing his books as ‘archetypal and stirring’.
His 4 books till now — The Immortals of Meluha, The Secret of the Nagas and The Oath of the Vayuputras, which collectively comprise the Shiva Trilogy, and Scion of Ikshvaku (Part 1 of the Ram Chandra Series) — have over 3.5 million copies in print with gross retail sales of over Rs 100 crores. The Shiva Trilogy is the fastest selling book series in Indian history. The Indian language translations of his books have sold 5 lakh copies, breaking records in this space.
Forbes Magazine has listed Amish amongst the 100 most influential celebrities in India, four years in a row. He was Man of the Year by Radio City, GQ 50 Most Influential Young Indian and selected as an Eisenhower Fellow.
A graduate of IIM-Calcutta, he worked for 14 years in the financial services industry before turning to full-time writing. He lives in Mumbai.
Chetan Bhagat is the author of nine books. These include seven novels—Five Point Someone, One Night @ A Call Center, The 3 Mistakes of My Life, 2 States, Revolution 2020, Half Girlfriend and One Indian Girl, and two non-fiction titles—What Young India Wants and Making India Awesome. His books have remained bestsellers since their release. Four out his five novels have been already adapted into successful Bollywood films and the others are in the process of being adapted. The New York Times called him the ‘the biggest selling English language novelist in India’s history’. Time magazine named him among the ‘100 most influential people in the world’ and Fast Company, USA, listed him as one of the world’s ‘100 most creative people in business’. He writes columns for leading English and Hindi newspapers, focusing on youth and national development issues. He is also a motivational speaker and screenplay writer. He quit his international investment banking career in 2009 to devote himself to writing and make change happen in the country. He lives in Mumbai.
Ramachandra Guha is a historian and biographer based in Bangalore. His books include The Unquiet Woods, A Corner of a Foreign Field, India after Gandhi, and Gandhi Before India. His books and essays have been translated into more than 20 languages. His awards include the Leopold-Hidy Prize of the American Society of Environmental History, the UK Cricket Society’s Literary Prize, the Ramnath Goenka Award, the Sahitya Akademi Award, the Padma Bhushan, and the Fukuoka Prize. He recently received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Times Litfest, Mumbai.
His latest book is Democrats and Dissenters.
Divya Spandana, stage name Ramya, is a film actor and politician. She acts in Kannada, Tamil and Telugu films. She became the youngest Member of Parliament from Mandya, Karnataka, in 2013. She has acted in many films, including Aryan, Crazy Loka, Thoondi, Lucky, Sidiingu, Bombaat and Sanju Weds Geetha, for which she won the Karnataka State Film Award for Best Actress.
An author, politician, and former international civil servant, Dr. Shashi Tharoor straddles several worlds of experience. Currently a second-term Lok Sabha Member of Parliament (MP) representing the Thiruvananthapuram constituency and Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on External Affairs, he has previously served as Minister of State for Human Resource Development and Minister of State for External Affairs in the Government of India. During his nearly three-decade long prior career at the United Nations, he served as a peacekeeper, refugee worker, and administrator at the highest levels, serving as Under-Secretary General during Kofi Annan’s leadership of the organisation. Dr. Tharoor is also an award-winning author of sixteen books of both fiction as well as non-fiction.
A well-known actor and politician, Shatrughan Sinha has acted in many iconic films such as Kalicharan, Dostana, Kaala Pathar, Paras, Dost and Blackmail. He was Union Cabinet Minister of Health and Family Welfare (2003-2004) and Shipping (2004). His biography Anything But Khamosh is out in 2016.
Sudha Murty is the chairperson of the Infosys Foundation in India and a Trustee of the Infosys Foundation USA. She has a Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. She started her career as a development engineer with TELCO (now Tata Motors) and has also taught computer science at Bangalore University.
Sudha Murty is a prolific writer in Kannada and English. She is a columnist for English and Kannada dailies with 24 books and 156 titles to her credit – including novels, non-fiction, travelogues, technical books, and memoirs. Her books have been translated into all major Indian languages. She has been honored with awards for her philanthropic and literary efforts. She has also received the Padma Shri Award from the Government of India as well as seven honorary doctorates from universities in India.