Mallika Sarabhai

Educated as an economist and a business manager, Mallika Sarabhai is one of India’s best-known Bharata Natyam and Kuchipudi dancers. To reaffirm the positive images of womanhood, she has used every medium: dance, theatre, television, film, writing and publishing. In recognition of her efforts to promote social justice through the arts, she was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize as part of the 1,000 Women for the Nobel Peace Prize campaign. During her career, she has received numerous awards including Knight of the Order of Arts & Letters, and the Chevalier des Palmes Academiques, from the Government of France, as well as several awards from the Government of India. Mallika Sarabhai is director of Darpana Academy of Performing Arts, where the focus is on the use of arts for social change.

In 1982, she founded Darpana for Development to develop performance as a language for change and JANAVAK, the voice of the people, to record and preserve folk and tribal culture. She played the lead character of Draupadi in the international theatre production of “The Mahabharata” by world-renowned director Peter Brook. From 2000 to 2002, she was CEO of TARA, a TV channel dedicated to using mainstream genres of programming for activism. She also founded Darpana Communications in 2001 to harness the potential of TV to change attitudes and fight social prejudice.