m.i.l.a.p. 2019 will comprise of curated events to facilitate thoughtful and sustained interactions between writers, artists, readers and the audience. We are thrilled to announce the names of some of the speakers who will be joining us this year.


Mahesh Dattani

Mahesh Dattani is the first Indian playwright writing in English to be awarded the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1998. Alyque Padamsee, one of the foremost names in Indian theatre, has described him as “a playwright who gives 60 million English-speaking Indians an identity”.  He has written and directed critically acclaimed films like Morning Raga and Mango Soufflé.  Internationally, he has joined forces with theatre companies like Border Crossings, most recently at Shanghai. Through this collaboration he is working with Chinese, Swedish as well as English actors. He also writes scripts for BBC Radio 4. As an eminent playwright, Dattani has given voice to the social issues, exempted from any norms or system. His initiatory play “Where There’s a Will” (1988) highlighted the rigid patriarchy prevalent in Indian Society. His projects that followed such as “Tara” (1990) and “Bravely Fought the Queen” (1991) involve strong female characters who willfully challenge societal issues. His recent endeavors include a stage adaptation of Paulo Coelho’s classic best-seller The Alchemist and the perfectly scripted Brief Candle, directed by Lillete Dubey.

D Venkat Rao

D Venkat Rao is a Professor, The English and Foreign Languages University (EFLU) Hyderabad. Earlier this year in May he was appointed as Director, Research Acceleration Centre of the Varsity. He also writes in English and Telugu in the areas of literary and cultural studies,comparative thought. Some of his notable works include In Visible Idiom: Transfigurements of the Rāmāyana in India”, “Learning in the Double Bind: Mnemotextual Inquiries and Action Knowledges”, “Fables of Identity and Contingencies of Certainty: Disarticulations of the Panchatantra and The Mahabharata Contretemps: Temporality, Finitude and the Modes of Being in the Itihasa. He has worked extensively on Cultures of Memory, Visual Traditions of India, Rhythms of the folk, Rights to Folk, Performing Traditions. His current projects aim to provide for scope for developing data digital cultural projects.

Amrit Gangar

Amrit Gangar is a Mumbai-based author, film theoretician, historian and curator. He has authored and co-authored several publications in English and Gujarati. His works include authorship of Walter Kaufmann: The Music that Still Rings at Dawn, Every Dawn, Goethe Institute – 2013 and Cinema. Culture. Capital. Context: India, Monfakira – 2010. To his curatorial credit, are a number of retrospective programs for the Mumbai International Film Festival for Documentary, Short & Animation Films (MIFF), along with festivals and gallery shows in Europe and elsewhere. As the Founder Director of Datakino, he has helped set up a comprehensive database for the Films Division’s collection of over 9,000 documentaries and short films, produced between 1948 and 1993. For his contribution to the Indian film society movement, the International Federation of Film Clubs honored him in 1989, in Berlin. Amrit Gangar has been responsible for coining, developing and theorizing his new theoretical concept of ‘Cinema of Prayoga’ or ‘Cinema Prayoga that aims at substituting and expanding the generally accepted Euro-American-centric term the ‘Experimental Film’ while celebrating the cinematographic idiom deeply located in the polyphony of Indian philosophy and cultural imagination, including the perception of ‘time’ and ‘space’.

Prakash Belawadi

Prakash Belawadi is an Indian theater, film, television and media personality, an activist and a journalist from Bangalore. He co-founded the Centre for Film and Drama and launched the Suchitra School of Cinema and Dramatic Arts. Apart from acting in multiple films in Kannada, Hindi, Malyalam, Tamil and Telugu, he has also made his mark in directing movies with his movie ‘Stumble’ for which he was awarded the National Film Award in 2002. He has also been awarded the Karnataka Nataka Academy Award in 2012 for his contribution to English and Kannada language theatre. He has contributed as an actor in Hindi movies like Talvar (2016), Wazir (2016), Airlift (2016), Sanju (2018), The Tashkent Files (2019) etc. There are several Kannada and Telugu movies to his credit as well.

T P Ashoka

T P Ashoka, is a well-known critic and scholar in Kannada who has been teaching literature, film and theatre for the last forty years. Apart from teaching in an autonomous college, he has organized and taught in more than three hundred and fifty workshops on literature, film and theatre all over Karnataka. He is a well-known columnist and translator as well. He has authored more than thirty books, which include eighteen collections of critical essays, several monographs and full-length studies of eminent Kannada writers such Kuvempu, Masti Venkatesh Iyengar, Shivaram Karanth, Tejaswi, Vaidehi, and others. He has to his credit various awards, including the Karnataka Sahitya Academy Award, Masti Award, and others. He has also worked as a member of the language advisory panels in prestigious institutions like Bharatiya Jnanapith, Birla Foundation, Kendra Sahitya Akademi and National Book Trust of India. He is the recipient of the 2017 Kendra Sahitya Akademi Award for his book on literary criticism, Kathana Bharathi, published by MUP.

BR Venkataramana Aithal

BR Venkataramana Aithal, a native of Udupi, learnt the art of Yakshagana from the Yakshgana Kendra, Udupi. He graduated from the Ninasam Theatre Education Centre and the School of Drama, Trichur. Since then he has directed several plays across Karnataka as part of ‘Ninasam Tirugata’. Some of his plays include Sirisampige, Valivadhanka, Uttararama Charite, Agni Mattu Male, Pramilarjuniyam, Bettada Arasu. He has been the Principal of the Ninasam Theatre Education Centre. Here several of his theatre works have been published as well, namely, Karnadarsha, Raja Mattu Rani, Kannada Ramayana, Oresis Purana, Agalida Alaka and Panchratra Modaladavu. He was also awarded the Karnataka Nataka Academy Award.

Pretti Siingh

Pretti Siingh is the Senior Vice President, Head Content & Creative at Junglee Pictures (Times Group). She is a creative professional with more than 20 years of experience in Media & Entertainment Industry. She specializes in entire cycle of Films & Digital content series and delivering critical projects that have gained noted acclamation and high revenue for production houses. The Junglee Pictures have two award-winning movies to its credit – Meghana Gulzar’s Talvar and Zoya Akhtar’s Dil Dhadakne Do, and their most recent achievement include the highest grossing female-led film Raazi, a famous adaption of Harinder Sikka’s novel Calling Sehmat.

Lavanya Lakshminarayan

Lavanya Lakshminarayan is the author of Analog/Virtual (Hachette, 2020). Her writing is speculative, and often dwells on humanity and its relationship with technology and magic. She is also game designer, and has built worlds and written narratives for highly successful game titles, including Zynga Inc.’s FarmVille and Mafia Wars. She believes in exploring narratives across platforms, and in creating immersive experiences regardless of their form. She has received an Honourable Mention for her writing from the A.C. Bose Grant for South Asian Literature, awarded by the Speculative Literature Foundation, USA. Her award-winning stories have appeared in the anthology, ‘A Flash of Silver-Green’, The Indian Quarterlyand in FirstPost magazine. Her writing will soon  be featured in an upcoming Graphic India anthology, entitled ’Third Eye’. She currently works at PlaySimple Games, a gaming studio based in Bangalore.

Maithreyi Karnoor

Maithreyi Karnoor is a poet, critic, and literary translator. In 2019, A Handful of Sesame, her English translation of the award-winning Kannada novel – Halla Bantu Halla was shortlisted for the Lucien Stryk Asian Translation Prize. Her works have appeared in The Wire, The Hindu, Daily O, Indian Literature, and Muse India. She was shortlisted for the Montreal International Poetry Prize in 2017. She writes a social satire comic-strip blog as The Drawer Avatar.

Sidharth Jain

Sidharth Jain has founded India’s First Story Company – The Story Ink, and in a span of 12 months has become India’s No. 1 Book to Screen Company with over 75 book adaptions. Formerly, he was the head of content and licensing at India’s No. 1 OTT platform – Hotstar.com. He is experienced in working with Hollywood and Bollywood. He has also produced the India’s first five-country coproduction international film, Marigold.  He also founded India’s first Script Development Company – IRock Films and produced India’s first Founded Footage Horror Film, Ragini MMS. He is a collector of pop-culture memorabilia and is a TEDx Speaker as well.

Sekhar Mukherjee

Sekhar Mukherjee is currently the Director, National Institue of Design, Vijaywada. He is an animation-film designer and graphic novelist, and the artistic director of Chitrakatha – International Student Animation Festival. He won the Best Animation Teacher Award from CNBC-TV18 and is one of the founders of Longform Graphic Anthology. He regularly contributes to two comic strips in cartoon column in Ananda Bazaar Patrika, a leading newspaper from Kolkata. He is also an editorial board member of Animation: An Interdisciplinary Journal, published by Sage Publication, UK.

Chef Thirugnanasambantham K

Chef Thirugnanasambantham K is currently the Principal at the Welcomgroup Graduate School of Hotel Administration, Manipal. He started his career with Taj Hotels as a Senior Chef De Partie and has made his way up to being one of the eminent members of the prestigious Worlds Chefs Congress in 2018. With over twenty eight years of experience in the Industry entailing Hotel Operation and Academics his expertise lies in Kitchen Operation Management, Personnel oversight/ Management, Cost Containment, Special Events Development, Customer Service, Quality Assurance, Staff Training and Development. In 2016 he won Best Culinary Educator of the Year from Indian Federation of Culinary Associations (IFCA) and World Associations of Chefs Societies (WACS). He was also awarded the Culinary Educator of the Year Award in 2018.

Neehar Dabade

Neehar Dabade is currently a music composer and producer. He has worked alongside AR Rahman and has also composed music for several ad films including those for the Bengaluru Metro, Microsoft, Nokia and Fab India. He is an enthusiastic speaker with regard to the digital aspect of music production.

Chandan Gowda

Chandan Gowda is Professor, School of Development, Azim Premji University, Bengaluru. His research interests include Indian normative traditions, caste, and Kannada literature and cinema. Between 2008 and 2011, he was the Associate Professor of Sociology at the Centre for the Study of Social Exclusion, National Law School of India, Bengaluru. In addition to his academic publications, he has written for newspapers and published translations of Kannada fiction and non-fiction in English. He has translated writings from Kannada into English including Bara, a novella by UR Ananthamurthy (Oxford University Press, 2016) and edited The Post Office of Abachooru, a book of short stories of KP Purnachandra Tejasvi (HarperCollins, 2017). He has also directed Sahitya Sahavasa (In the Company of Literature), a series of video lectures of UR Ananthamurthy on Kannada writers which were telecast on Doordarshan in 2014. He writes a weekly column on culture and politics in Bangalore Mirror

Anushruti RK

Anushruti RK is a food writer, photographer, recipe creator and nutrition advisor based in Mumbai, India. Her website, ‘Divine Taste’ showcases several of her recipes that she has curated. Her cooking style stems from ancient ayurvedic and sattvic cooking principles, incorporating dishes from around the world using fresh, seasonal and local ingredients. Venturing in the digital medium, her website showcases recipes that are an intrinsic part of Indian culture with insights from the curator herself.

Rohit Kulkarni

Rohit Kulkarni is a music composer, producer, chiefly associated credited for background score production in films. He has composed music for the Hindi, Tamil and Telugu film industries. Not only has he worked with some of the top names in the Indian music industry, he is also versatile in several genres as well as the sonic space of the music industry. He started his career by composing jingles in Bengaluru and Chennai before moving to Mumbai. He has worked with some of the top Ad agencies and production houses such as O&M, HTA and Leo Burnett.

Abhijeet Deshpande

Abhijeet Deshpande is an actor and writer known for his work in Hindi and Marathi cinema. His most recent breakthrough in digital television is the scriptwriting of Breathe, an Amazon Prime series. He started his career as a writer with De Dhakka, a Marathi film released in 2008. His other works include Mee Shivajiraje Bhosale Boltoy in 2009, City of Gold – Mumbai 1982: Ek Ankahee Kahani in 2010, Shaitan in 2011, Table No. 21, David and Shootout at Wadala (2013). He is also credited with writing of many recent movies including Aagey se Right (2009), Shaitan (2011), Wazir (2016) and Natsamrat (2016).

Aarti Tiwari

Aarti Tiwari is a theatre personality who is extremely skilled in speaking verse and prose as well as acting. She has been featured in This and That by White Flag, a Baltimore based theatre group. She has also worked with Ben Rivers in Playback Theatre. She was formerly a member of Orchestrated Q’works, a Pune based English theatre group. Her theatre work includes plays like Kiss and Tell, Children of Hiroshima and Other Poetic Ensembles. In 2014, she organized the first ever English Theatre Festival in Pune, Pukaar. She is the founding member of Byka and Company, a Pune based art and culture initiative dedicated to bringing women’s voices alive through the written word, the theatre stage as well as the film screen, encouraging more women to write, act and direct to put forth their stories.

Dipti S Tripathi

Prof Dipti S Tripathi was the former Director of National Mission for Manuscripts under the Ministry of Culture, Government of India for several years. She was also the first woman to head the Department of Sanskrit, University of Delhi. Her exceptional work on Grammatical Categories in Sanskrit was supplemented by her efforts to establish an Indian School of Linguistics. She is an academician of international repute in the field of Sanskrit grammar, modern linguistics, poetics and manuscriptology. Prof Tripathi has been a Visiting fellow at the York University, UK; Professor, Delhi University; Visiting Professor Wuhan University, China etc. She has also led the of the Indian delegation sent by Government of India to the 2nd Indological Conference held at Shenzhen, China in 2016, where she a presented a widely acclaimed paper on Indian Grammar. She has received several national and international awards including President’s Certificate of Merit for her outstanding contribution to the field of Sanskrit. Presently, she is preparing the critical edition of a work on philosophy of Sanskrit Grammar.

Vinay Hegde

Vinay Hegde  is a UX Designer, 3D Designer, Sculptor, Speed painter and an artist based in Bangalore. He is a graduate from Vancouver Film School, Canada and has the Jedi Masters from The Lucasfilm Animation, Singapore. He has been a part of many movie projects by Dreamworks Animations India and Lucas Film Animation, Singapore. He received a specialization in painting from The Ken School Of Art, Bangalore (India). He has sculpted many sculptures in Clay, Stone, Metal, Wood, Fibreglass, Wax and Plaster of Paris, which have been displayed in India and abroad. Some of his latest innovations include “GlowArt” , “Glue Art” and “Cosmic Splash”. These art forms fuse creativity and fine artistry with technology. ​

G N Mohan

G N Mohan is the Chief Editor, Avadhi Magazine – an online Kannada Magazine. He was the former Editor, ETV news Kannada and the CEO, Mayflower Media House, Bangalore. He was the head of News wing in ETV, a venture of Ramoji Film City, an entertainment platform of Guinness record fame. As a veteran media personality, he has more than twenty years of experience in print and television media. In addition, he is widely known for his composition of poetry, travelogues and media analysis.

N Manu Chakravarthy

N Manu Chakravarthy was a Professor and Head of the Department of English at NMKRV College for Women, Bengaluru. Presently, he is a Visiting Professor at The National College, Basavanagudi, Bengaluru and at the Bangalore Central University. He has been teaching critical theory, film theory and feminist theory for over three decades. He has written extensively on culture, literature, cinema, music and philosophy in Kannada and English. He has been awarded the Swarna Kamal, the President’s Gold Medal, for best National Critic at the 58th National Film Awards for his contributions to film criticism. Prof Manu has also received the Karnataka Sahitya Academy award and the V M Inamdar Award for his book Madhyama Marga on literature and culture. He has several books in English and Kannada on literature, cinema and music to his credit. Besides, he has edited several works in English and Kannada, notable among them being the essays and short stories of U R Ananthamurthy, the essays of K V Subbanna, and essays on feminism. He also functions as a Member of the Jury at National and International Film Festivals.

Sudeep Nigam

Sudeep Nigam is a screenwriter, simultaneously involved with multiple production houses such as Applause Entertainment, BIG Synergy Media Limited and Reliance Entertainment, and OTT content streaming Platforms. His professional involvement as a writer began with the critically acclaimed webseries The Test Case, produced by ALTBalaji – an online content streaming platform owned by Balaji Telefilms Ltd. He is currently involved as a writer for a show on Amazon Prime, and a prestigious anthology on Satyajit Ray short stories, called X-Ray, by award-winning director Srijit Mukherji. Recently, He has created and written a show for Viacom 18 Motion Pictures, which will be released later this year.  As an ongoing project, he is also writing  director Imtiaz Ali’s debut digital series, for Reliance Entertainment. While he enjoys writing all genres, he loves watching thrillers and mysteries.

Akane Saito

Akane Saito is a postdoctoral researcher at French school of Asian Studies (École françaised’Extrême-Orient: EFEO) and a specialist in Indian Philosophy, Literature, and Linguistics. She is a part of the Endangered Archives Programme (EAP) in Thrissur, supported by British Library for digitization of manuscripts. She has completed her doctoral course in Kyoto University, Japan. Her research interests include Vendanta and Vyakarna schools of Indian Philosophy. Given her professional and academic involvements with ancient textual resources, she is a highly accomplished scholar to comment on the digital conservation of ancient manuscript, and its relevance in the contemporary scenario.