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ACADEMIC PANEL DISCUSSION - 2nd MAY 2022

DIGITALISATION OF MEDIA CULTURE IN INDIA AT 75

Time : 10am (UK)/2:30pm (India)
CHAIR
DR. BAIDURYA CHAKRABARTI 

Dr. Baidurya Chakrabarti

Dr. Baidurya Chakrabarti (He/they) is Assistant Professor and Head of the Department (Audio-visual) at the Faculty of Media & Communication, Symbiosis Centre for Media & Communication, SIU, Pune, India. He was awarded their doctorate degree in the field of Cultural Studies from the English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad, India in 2016. He has been published in reputed journals like Studies in South Asian Film and Media, and anthologies.

 Head of Department (Audio-Visual), Symbiosis Centre for Media and Communication, Symbiosis International (Deemed   University), Pune 

SPEAKERS 

PROF. MADHUJA MUKHERJEE 

PROF. MADHUJA MUKHERJEE

Madhuja Mukherjee is Professor of Film Studies at Jadavpur University, India. She extends her research into art-practice, curatorial-work and filmmaking. She is the author of ‘New Theatres Ltd.’(2009), editor of ‘Aural Films, Oral Cultures’(2012), and of the award-winning anthology ‘Voices of the Talking Stars’(2017). Recently, she (co) edited the volumes: ‘Popular Cinema in Bengal’ (2020), and ‘Industrial Networks and Cinemas of India’ (2021). Her first feature-film ‘Carnival’ (2012) had its World Premiere at the 41st International Film Festival Rotterdam 2012, and her second feature, ‘Deep6’ (2021), had its World Premiere at the 26th Busan International Film Festival 2021. Her first graphic-novel, Kangal Malsat (2013, Bengali) was a best seller; and currently, she is editing a series of graphic-stories titled ‘Body Matters’. Mukherjee is the artistic director of TENT Little Cinema International Festival, redesigned as TENT Biennale Kolkata, a festival for experimental films and new media art.

 Professor, Department of Film Studies, Jadavpur University, Kolkata and Eminent Filmmaker

PROF. RAJINDER DUDRAH 

PROF. RAJINDER DUDRAH

Rajinder Dudrah is Professor of Cultural Studies and Creative Industries at Birmingham City University, UK. He has taught, researched and published across film, media, cultural studies and sociology. His books include Bollywood Travels: Culture, Diaspora and Border Crossings in Popular Hindi Cinema(Routledge 2012), Bhangra: Birmingham and Beyond (Punch Records and Birmingham City Council 2007), andBollywood: Sociology Goes to the Movies (Sage Publications, 2006). He has co-edited a further 12 books and is the founding co-editor of the journal South Asian Popular Culture (Taylor and Francis). Professor Dudrah is currently working on his latest single-authored book project, entitled E-Bollywood: Popular Hindi Cinema in the Age of New Media.

Professor of Cultural Studies and Creative Industries and the Interim Associate Dean for Research, Innovation and Enterprise, Faculty of Arts, Design and Media, Birmingham City University.

PROF. VIBHOD PARTHASARATHI 

PROF. VIBHOD PARTHASARATHI

Vibodh Parthasarathi maintains a multidisciplinary interest in media policy/business/history. He is Associate Professor, Centre for Culture, Media and Governance, Jamia Millia Islamia, and CMDS non- resident Fellow, Central European University. Parthasarathi has been at the forefront of media policy research in India and a winner of numerous grants including from the Ford Foundation, Canada’s IDRC, SSRC, and the India New Zealand Education Council. Widely published in leading journals, his edited works include Platform Capitalism in India (Palgrave, 2020), the double-volume The Indian Media Economy (OUP, 2018), and the triptych Communication Processes (Sage 2007, 2009, 2010). He serves in advisory roles in series at MIT Press and Oxford University Press, and is Associate Editor of the Journal of Digital Media and Policy.

 Associate Professor, Centre for Culture Media & Governance, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi 

DR. VEBHUTI DUGGAL 

DR. VEBHUTI DUGGAL

Vebhuti Duggal teaches film studies at the School of Culture and Creative Expressions, Ambedkar University Delhi. She was awarded her PhD in Cinema Studies from the School of Arts and Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University on a CSDS-ICSSR doctoral fellowship. Her work has been published in edited books and journals by SAGE, Taylor and Francis, and the Oxford University Press and she has recently co-edited Film Studies: An Introduction (2022).

 Assistant Professor, School of Culture and Creative Expressions, Ambedkar University Delhi, Delhi 

Event Brief

Digitalization of media culture in India by now is old news. By 2022, production processes of marquee media in India have shifted to digital, automatized, and often portable formats, some enabling the arrival of what Axel Bruns has termed as a ‘produser’, while media consumption has digitalized into the small screens of smartphones, enabling new affordances through apps etc. As digitalization continues to develop, it has produced its own past, histories, and futures. While the urgency of some of the older discussions have vanished (such as what is this new technology and whom is it for), new issues such as the ongoing emergence of ever newer or remediated technology, platforms, phenomena, and individual and collective needs are pressing to be understood better. 

Occasioned by the 75th anniversary of India’s independence, the Symbiosis Centre for Media and Communication, Pune and Birmingham City University, UK, is organizing a week of events and discussions around the theme of The Changing Landscape of Indian Media from 2nd to 6th of May, 2022. As part of this event, we are glad to organize a panel of eminent academic experts on the theme of digitalization of media culture in India at 75. 

Through this panel, we want to shift the discussion about digitalization of media culture in India from being about an emerging process to being about a relatively stable state, with its own past, history, and possible futures. We also invite an engagement with the historicity of the concepts through which we have understood and continue to understand digitalization in India. Through this panel, we would like to provoke discussions about matters like a) periodization of Indian digital media culture, b) obsolescence and emergence in contemporary Indian digital media culture, etc. With a keen eye on the contemporary state of digitalization of media culture in India, we would like to debate what new questions we might need to ask in order the grasp the dynamism of the changing landscape of digital media culture in India and its user communities around the world. 

With this broad aim in mind, we have put together a panel of academic experts from the fields of cinema studies, audio and music studies, news and broadcasting, media business, etc. By initiating a multidisciplinary discussion about various sectors of Indian media, we want to renew the urgency of understanding the flux of change that contemporary Indian digital media culture represents.

FILM FESTIVAL – 2nd MAY – 6th MAY 2022

CENTENARY LEGACIES OF HRISHIKESH MUKHERJEE

The year 2022 is the birth centenary of Hrishikesh Mukherjee, the legendary director of films like Anand, Abhiman, and Namak Haram. To remember and celebrate his cinematic legacy we have collaborated with the National Film Archive of India to organize a non-commercial online retrospective of Mukherjee’s films. The films will be made available to registered participants through private links that will remain open for watching from 2nd May to 6th May. The retrospective will lead to a talk (and Q&A) by the eminent film scholar Prof. Gayatri Chatterjee on Mukherjee’s oeuvre. 

RETROSPECTIVE SPECIAL EVENT – 4th MAY, 2022

TALK ON HRISHIKESH MUKHERJEE BY GAYATRI CHATTERJEE

Time : 10:30am (UK)/3:00pm (India)
Event Brief

 

Prof. Gayatri Chatterjee 

Prof. Gayatri Chatterjee

Gayatri Chatterjee is a visiting faculty at the Symbiosis School for Liberal Arts and at the Department of Cinematography, Bharati Vidyapeeth. She has been a direction faculty in the Film & Television Institute of India, Pune; and a visiting faculty in the National School of Drama, New Delhi. She has conducted Film Appreciation courses in schools, colleges and Universities all over the country. She has taught and lectured widely in the USA and UK. Her book Awara (1992) received the Swarnakamal, President’s gold medal; and Mother India (2002), published by the British Film Institute has been re-launched in 2020. Her articles on cinema, literature and religion feature in several national and international edited volumes. She has been a Jury at the National Film Awards and at International Film Festivals. She has made a few documentaries and has scripted for the feature film The Bitter Chestnut (2019), directed by Gurvinder Singh.

We are delighted to have Prof. Gayatri Chatterjee , an eminent film scholar, author of books like Mother India (2002), Awara (2004), give a talk about the career and oeuvre of Hrishikesh Mukherjee. Currently Visiting Faculty at the Symbiosis School of Liberal Arts, she has been a faculty at the Film and Television Institute of India, Pune, India.

FILM MEMORABILIA EVENT – 4th May, 2022

TRACING THE JOURNEY OF INDIAN CINEMA

Time : 12:30pm (UK)/5:00pm (India)
Event Brief

SMM Ausaja 

SMM Ausaja

Film historian, author and memorabilia archivist SMM Ausaja, has been writing on cinema since his college days. Initially a TV software executive on many popular shows, Ausaja later joined Osians, India’s premier auction house for art and cinema. His cinema memorabilia collection is considered to be the single largest private archive in the country. His debut book ‘Bollywood in Posters (2009), and his second book ‘Bollywood: The Films! The Songs! The Stars!’ (Co-authored, 2017) were both released by Amitabh Bachchan. Ausaja is currently Sr. Vice President at Fantico Pte Ltd, the premier NFT platform. ‘The Bachchans’, his next book is releasing this year.

Senior Vice President – Content at Fantico and an eminent collector of Indian film memorabilia, will introduce us to the intricacies of the history of Bombay film industry through memorialized objects of yesteryear’s cinema. 


INDUSTRY PANEL DISCUSSION – 6th MAY, 2022

MEDIA CULTURE AND DIGITAL TRANSFORMATIONS IN INDIA AT 75

Time : 12pm (UK)/4:30pm (India)
CHAIR
PROF. AMITABH DASGUPTA 

PROF. AMITABH DASGUPTA

Professor Amitabh Dasgupta has been a career journalist who has worked as a Defence Correspondent and Editor for Special Features and later as Editor, Publisher and Printer with two of India’s largest publishing companies – The Times of India and the Sakal Media Group.

Currently, he is Head of Faculty for Journalism with the Symbiosis International University’s Symbiosis Centre for Media and Communication.

He has more than 20 years of experience in print and digital media, and has been a Professor for more than 14 years. He has been a visiting and guest faculty to several academic institutes and professional organisations.

His areas of expertise include print, broadcast and online journalism; media convergence; editorial, feature and article writing; management of media publications; media consultancy and planning; editing and publishing; media research; training, teaching and mentoring.

 Head of Department (Journalism), Symbiosis Centre for Media and Communication, Symbiosis   International (Deemed University) (Pune) 

SPEAKERS 
SWADHIN PADHY 

SWADHIN PADHY

Swadhin Padhy, an Alumnus of IIT Bombay and an engineer turned creative industry professional is the Academic Director at Ronkel Media Education & Research Institute, the pioneer in establishing highly effective creative education pedagogy in India. He is the recipient of 3 Best Actor Awards in theatre. He is also the Production Head at Ronkel Brothers Production which is known for its path breaking projects and innovative storytelling. For the first time in the history of cinema, a road has been named after their recent film, "Road to Reform". Legendary Actor Padma Vibhushan Amitabh Bachchan, Randeep Hooda are few of the renowned actors to have worked with the production in the past.

 Head of Production, Ronkel Institute (Mumbai) 

RASHMI LAMBA 

RASHMI LAMBA

Rashmi has over forty years’ experience in film and TV production, advertising, corporate communications, film festivals and event management.

She is ‘India Council Lead’ for the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media and has held pivotal roles as Industry Director, Festival Producer and Jury Manager at leading international Film Festivals in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Toronto. 

In India, as Festival Director, she launched the FICCI FLO Film Festival and Forum, spearheaded MAMI - Mumbai Film Mart and the Films Division - MIFF HUB and curates for the MAVA Samabhav Travelling Film Festival.

Rashmi started her own production companies in Mumbai, Dubai and Toronto. She has produced and directed an acclaimed documentary, ‘Begumpura - The Wives Colony’, for the OMNI Rogers Network in Canada.

Awarded for Excellence in Social Impact Leadership, Rashmi is a Mentor at Aspire For Her and HopeWorks and a Fellow at Aspire Circle for Social Leadership. 

 India Council Lead, Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media; Filmmaker; Producer; Festival Director (Mumbai) 

SUNIL RAMAN 

SUNIL RAMAN

Sunil Raman in a career spanning over three decades has been a multi-lingual and multi-media journalist with leading media outlets starting with The Economic Times and ending with BBC World Service which, he quit after two decades in journalism to start a new phase in his life as a political risk assement and mitigation expert. After advising global corporates on potential investments in India he joined the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation seven years ago and now leads their external relations and advocacy work.

 India Lead, State Advocacy & External Relations, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Political Journalist (New Delhi) 

ASHISH KULKARNI 

ASHISH KULKARNI

Ashish S K embarked on his journey in the field of arts and media in 1985, and since has immersed himself in the pursuit of conceiving sustainable careers in film, animation, visual effects, gaming, visual arts, and graphic design in India. Ashish S K's presence in the field of the arts commenced with the animation industry, the seed of which, had only been planted in the fertile grounds of the Indian economy at the turn of the century. At this early stage, Ashish S K jumpstarted the sprouting of the animation industry in India by facilitating outsourcing projects in the country with animation giants such as Disney, Warner Bros., Sony and Dreamworks. By introducing India as a new outsourcing platform for animation, Ashish S K had created the opportunity for Indian animation services to grow to international standards. During this stage, Ashish S K produced ad films for All Out, Flying Machine, Max Candy & Max Ice cream for HLL, Nestle, Veneta Cucine and Kelloggs. Ashish S K, has created the SKILL INDIA logo. He has also created the promotional films for Jan Dhan Yogana, Skill India, Maharashtra Tourism, National Environmental Engineering Research Institute to name a few.

As the sapling of the Indian animation industry grew, Ashish S K envisioned a future in which, India was not caged in the confines of outsourcing, but competed as a global player in the arena of original IP creation. What followed was the development of iconic character brands and shows such as Little Krishna, Krishna Aur Kans, Big Bees and Shaktimaan, by Ashish S K and his creative team while he served as CEO of Reliance Animation. Currently, Ashish S K is working on properties such as War Heroes of India, Mary Kom Jr., Amazing Kids, Monkey Creek and Map Jacket.

Amidst the strides towards original IP creation that Ashish S K triggered, he found himself engulfed by the growing realization that traditional Indian art forms were battling extinction. To fight the death of these art forms, Ashish S K travelled across the Indian peninsula and brought artists that practiced the art forms from cities like Tenjavur, Mahabalipuram, Chanapatna, Ramnagaram, Krishna Nagar, Kolhapur, Udaipur, Amravati, etc., to his studio to create world class animation. This allowed the artists to have a sustainable livelihood in the arts field, while continuing to nurture the traditional art forms that were passed down through their familial generations. This remarkable initiative has also been documented in the Tom Friedman's international bestselling book The World is Flat.

Ashish S K, as Chairman of the Animation, VFX, Gaming & Comics AVGC forum at FICCI, has been persistently engaged with AVGC policy makers in India at central and state levels. In the last two decades, Ashish S K's push for state level policies inclusive of AVGC skill development and creation has allowed for their successful implementation under IT ITES policies or independent AVGC policies in the states of Maharashtra, Karnataka, AP, Telangana, Goa, MP, Chattisgarh, West Bengal and Kerala. Moreover, states like UP, Haryana, Rajasthan, Oddisa and Gujarat are actively considering the formation of AVGC policies to promote creative skill development and job creation. Ashish S K has helped create comprehensive policies for the states mentioned and the success of the policies is reflected in the international perception of cities such as Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai, Kochi, Trivandrum, Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Bhopal, New Delhi and Chandigarh as active AVGC and digital skills hubs. The National Centre of Excellence, which will serve as an institute of national importance for Animation, VFX, Gaming & Comics in India is another major project which Ashish S K has been involved with from the industry side since 2005. To promote the AVGC sector, Ashish S K initiated the prestigious FICCI Best Animated Frames Awards at an international level. Ashish S K has also created a whitepaper and suggested the creation of DD KIDS - A free to air public broadcasting channel for kids in India and A National Policy for AVGC- AR/VR.

Ashish S K, renowned as an AVGC guru, has developed curriculums and introduced creative career programs in institutes like FTII, Media and Entertainment Skills Council, Whistling Woods International, Ramesh Sippy Academy for Cinema and Entertainment, Lovely Professional University, NITTE, Manipal University, Anna Malai University, Arena, MAAC, FRAMEBOXX, DSK, University Of Mumbai, Jain University, Chitkara University, Jagannath University, Jagran Lakecity University, Vishwakarma University, Shoolini University and organized workshops for parents and youth in over 70 cities to promote careers in AVGC - AR/VR. Ashish S K, lead managed the first ever common entrance test for Media and Entertainment education in India under the Media and Entertainment Skills Council called MECAT – Media and Entertainment Creative Aptitude Test. Ashish S K, has been appointed as a MENTOR of the GMEC - Global Media Education Council in 2021.

Ashish S K is the founder of Punnaryug Artvision Pvt. Ltd. and Screenyug Creations Pvt. Ltd. and is developing a unique concept called The Green Butterfly Art Village at Lonavala, which aims to create a holistic and sustainable ecosystem for all creative, performance & sports artists by uniting the institutions, housing projects and production studios that make up their everyday lives. The project is designed to house institutions providing education in fine arts, liberal arts, performing arts, design, architecture, earth science, sustainability studies, culinary arts and sports education and management, in addition to a skills village, performance village and carnival village under the same roof. This project will also focus on restoring traditional Indian art forms through education. Ashish S K's immense contributions are making the AVGC sector a more viable career option for Indian citizens and through such dedicated investment in India's AVGC sector, he has established himself as the man who is bringing the Creative & Performing Arts, at par with Commerce and Science in India's evolving education system.

 Founder, Punnaryug Artvision; FICCI AVGC-XR Forum Chairman (Pune) 

SUPRITI MALHOTRA 

SUPRITI MALHOTRA

An Assistant Professor at the Symbiosis Centre for Media and Communication, Supriti is an award-winning filmmaker and feature journalist whose multi-faceted professional experience includes profiles such as Assistant Training Manager at IBM, and Head of Content Development at Eventraveler, along with experience working in the Indian film industry.

Supriti’s directorial debut, Ehsaas, won Best Director, Best Cinematography and Best Film awards for the 48 Hour Film Project (Mumbai) in 2009. Subsequently, Ehsaas won for Best Editing at Filmapalooza, and was chosen as one of the top 10 48HFP films to be screened at the Short Film Corner during Cannes 2010.

Having made corporate/promo films for NGO SNEHA, ACGL and Sustainable Advancements, Supriti is presently also involved with producing and directing the documentary, Shakti - of Science and Traditions, among other artistic pursuits.

 Assistant Professor, Symbiosis Centre for Media and Communication, Symbiosis   International (Deemed University) (Pune)

Event Brief

With nearly 1.4 billion people residing within its territory, with the world’s largest diaspora at 18 million (United Nations), and the fastest growing market in the global digital economy, India is poised to take over global media and communication; not only in driving content creation and  

With nearly 1.4 billion people residing within its territory, with the world’s largest diaspora at 18 million (United Nations), and the fastest growing market in the global digital economy, India is poised to take over global media and communication; not only in driving content creation and  

consumption but also through strategies of content generation and associated profit-making practices worldwide. 

Digitalisation has seeped into nearly every aspect of global society and India is already among the biggest influencers of global media culture. According to the 2022 report by Ernst & Young and  FICCI on the Indian Media and Entertainment (M&E) Sector, “99% of Indian pin codes generate  viewership for Amazon Prime; 25 Indian titles featured in the top 10 lists of countries outside India;  at 57%, Animation and VFX was the fastest growing M&E segment in 2021 India; there were 503  million smartphone users in India with Indians downloading 26.7 billion apps in 2021; and online  news audience grew to 467 million in 2021 at 50% of all internet subscriptions in India.” 

The 21st century data-driven media economy can be viewed as fragmented and diverse. With   technological adoption on the rise due to cheaper rates for Internet connectivity, India’s billion-plus population is making its voice heard through the content it consumes and prefers. This includes trends such as the rise of regional content in Indian media culture and an increased democratisation of audience accessibility for content creators. In the Indian film industry, regional content is overshadowing classic and Hindi-centric ‘Bollywood’ cinema; and independent filmmakers no longer have to worry about the allegedly-nepotistic machinations of Bollywood gatekeepers, with streaming platforms providing a revenue-generating opportunity like never before. Even as newsrooms juggle the web-first strategy with fake news from information pushers, digital transformations of media culture in India means a meme takes a moment to be viral, and the irate Indian can willingly and with great influence drop the star rating of the most recent app on Google Play Store. 

As we commemorate 75 years of India’s independence from its colonised history of international trade under the British, the centre-periphery model is going through a global and digital transformation. At 75, India has already become one of the biggest players in 21st century politico digital economy. As the fastest growing market in global media and communication, a momentary pause is perhaps required to take stock of the ephemeral terrain that is digital media culture in India. The Changing Landscape of Indian Media event’s industry panel discussion seeks perspectives from industry professionals in news, film, television, development communication, media education, and AVGC (animation, visual effects, gaming and comic) towards an enhanced understanding of Media Culture and Digital Transformations in India at 75.