Connecting with India Culturally

Media & Entertainment Panel 


In the ‘Connecting with India Culturally’ panel, we take a look at the impact of Indian culture on the business environment of India, with a view to educating overseas professionals on how to connect with the Indian mindset.

Panel Moderator:

Arundhati Tuli Banerjee

Director of the MIT Office of Global Initiatives

Dr. Arundhati Tuli Banerjee is Director of the MIT Office of Global Initiatives, where she works with MIT alumni, friends and supporters across the globe to identify, help plan and find support for MIT’s international initiatives. In this role, she also works closely with MIT President Rafael Reif, senior officers and faculty to align MIT’s global mission with the Institute’s key international partners. Dr. Banerjee also holds a Lectureship in Foreign Languages and Literatures at MIT, teaching European and South Asian literature and cinema, and is a Co-Director at MIT’s Center for Bilingual and Bicultural Studies. Her prior experience over her twelve years at MIT includes the Faculty Directorship of the MIT-India Program, when she worked closely with academic institutions, government, industry and private philanthropists in India to encourage and implement collaborative research between the two countries.

She received her M.A. in English from Jadavpur University (1986), India and her M.A. in French Literature from Brandeis University (1988).  Dr. Banerjee received a M. Phil and PhD in French Literature from Columbia University (1994). Before coming to MIT in 2000, she taught French at Tufts University. Banerjee has published in many academic journals, lectured at several academic conferences and co-directed a documentary film “The Name of the Disease” (2006) on healthcare in India, with Professor Abhijit Banerjee, MIT and Co-Director of the Abdul Jameel Poverty Action Lab.


Aroon Shivdasani

Executive Director and Founding Member, Indo - American Arts Council, Inc.

Aroon Shivdasani’s laughter and joi de vivre are her signatures. Immersed in the arts since childhood, Aroon is the Executive  & Artistic Director and founding member of the Indo-American Arts Council.  She is passionate about its mission to showcase and  build an awareness of artists from the Indian subcontinent in the performing, visual, literary and folk arts in North America. .

Equally passionate about humanity, Aroon has always supported and worked for social causes through the arts and sits on several arts oriented Boards. She has received numerous awards from the city, the state and several individual organizations for her untiring efforts to serve the community via the arts as well as social services.

Aroon’s priority above all is her family: the one she was born into and the one she has nurtured with her husband Indur , daughters Sacha and Misha and granddaughter Maya. Their unconditional love and support is her grounding.


Dr Sudha Gopalakrishnan

Executive Director, Sahapedia

Sudha Gopalakrishnan is Executive Director, Sahapedia, an open, online encyclopaedia on Indian knowledge systems, heritage and the arts. She was the founder director of India’s National Mission for Manuscripts, which led India’s effort to source and place information on one million manuscripts on She was associated with UNESCO’s intangible heritage stream as an expert, and steered three successful nomination dossiers for India to UNESCO, which resulted in the proclamation of three heritage expressions—Vedic Chanting and Ramlila—as ‘Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity’. She is author of several books relating to Indian arts, including the recent Kutiyattam: The Heritage Theatre of India. She is a trained dancer of Kathakali. She lives in New Delhi.


Sanjoy K. Roy

Managing Director, Teamwork Films

Sanjoy K Roy established Teamwork Films and Teamwork Productions in 1989, a highly versatile production house with wide ranging interests in the performing and visual arts, social sector and films and television. He has received the National Award for Excellence and Best Director, for the film `Shahjahanabad The Twilight Years’.

He is currently the festival director for Shared History Festival in Johannesburg and Durban, Eye on India – Chicago and Seattle, Celebrating India – Jerusalem and Tel Aviv and is the producer of the Jaipur Literature Festival, , META – The Mahindra Excellence in Theatre Awards, Kala Utsavam – Singapore, Kahani Festival, India and The Ishara International Puppet Festival.


Asad Lalljee

Vice-President of Essar Group

Headquartered in Bombay, Essar is India’s 4th largest multinational conglomerate.  Asad Lalljee serves as the CEO of AVID Learning, a CSR initiative of the Essar Group.  Mr. Lalljee also serves as a Senior Advisor to other endeavors managed by the Essar Group including: Time Out India (magazine) and Essar Foundation. AVID fosters creative learning through workshops, discussion forums, and other public programs across the fields of Culture & Heritage, Literature, and Art including Visual, Performing & Applied Arts. Started in 2009, AVID was conceptualized with a vision to provide limitless opportunities to knowledge-seekers.  With its recent presence in Dubai this year and future plans for New York and London, AVID aspires to make its learning platform global.

After fourteen years working in advertising and marketing, in New York, Asad relocated to Mumbai in 2010. He previously served as a Vice-President with McCann-Erickson-New York where he managed the Verizon Wireless B2B business. While in N.Y., he also volunteered for the Indo-American Arts Council. Asad holds a B.A in Economics from St. Xavier’s College (Mumbai, India) and an M.A. in Global Marketing Communications from Emerson College (Boston, MA).