Advisory Council & Mentors

Advisory Council

Anjum Rajabali heads the Advisory Council of NVFS. He is the honorary Head of the department of Screenplay Writing at the Film and Television Institute of India, Pune and also heads the Screenwriting Department at Whistling Woods International. From Drohkaal to his most recent, Satyagraha, he is known for his dramatic scripts based on strong issues and subjects. His other films include Ghulam, Pukar, The Legend of Bhagat Singh, Raajneeti, and Chakravyuh among others. He has also been a script consultant on Gangaajal, Apaharan and others. Anjum is very active with the Film Writers Association Mumbai on issues concerning screenwriter education, rights, and status.

Ashwini Malik is a screenwriting teacher, screenwriter and an independent filmmaker. After graduating from FTII (Pune) in 1994, he wrote and directed several television shows. His first feature film, Clever & Lonely (2002), was screened and appreciated at many film festivals. Ashwini has been a professor of screenwriting since 2004 at FTII, Whistling Woods, and regularly conducts workshops in India and abroad. His other writing credits include I Am, Sorry Bhai, Bas Ek Pal and Road, Movie

Claire Dobbin is a script advisor and editor who works with development agencies and filmmakers across the world. Since 2003, Claire has been the Chair of Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) and its film investment fund. She is also the Deputy President of the International script workshop éQuinoxe Europe. She was Senior Script Executive at the Australian Film Commission from 1986–2000, has written for TV, and script-consulted and edited Australian films. She has taught screenwriting at the Victorian College of the Arts and RMIT. Claire is currently script editing screenplays from writers in Australia, Yemen, Syria, New Zealand, Brazil, Italy and the U.S.

Devika Bhagat graduated with a BFA in Film and Television from Tisch School of the Arts, New York University. Since 2007, she has written the screenplays for seven films, including Manorama Six Feet Under, Bachna Ae Haseeno, Aisha, and Jab Tak Hai Jaan as well as a TV series, Mahi Way. Her first film as a director, One By Two, released in February 2014.

Dr. A. L. Sharada is the Director of Population First, an NGO which works on population and health issues from a women’s rights and social development perspective. She has been focusing her work on bringing about gender equality in the media and advertising space, through Population First’s LAADLI program. Dr. Sharada has led workshops and sessions on gender sensitization at Whistling Woods International.

Jaideep Sahni is one of Bollywood's most respected scriptwriters, with a string of notable films to his credit including Company, Khosla ka Ghosla, Chak de India, Rocket Singh: Salesman of the Year and Shuddh Desi Romance. Always trying to push boundaries and broaden horizons for storytelling, Jaideep has the uncanny knack to resurrect the common man through his stories, which brings great resonance and reaches out to a large spectrum of people. He is also a noted lyricist.

Jeroo Mulla was the Head of the Sophia Institute of Social Communications Media, Mumbai from 2012-2013 and the Head of the Social Communications Media Department, Sophia Polytechnic, Mumbai from 1986-2012. She has been teaching film appreciation, photography and the Fundamental Concepts of Communications, and supervising student documentaries at the Sophia Polytechnic for over 30 years since 1979. In 2010, she served as a jury member for the National Film Awards. Currently Jeroo continues to teach film and photography as a visiting faculty and is also a media consultant.

Uma da Cunha is a film journalist, writer and researcher. She is the editor of Film India Worldwide, a magazine which looks globally at India as an important, viable and highly regarded entity. She is also a programmer of Indian films at festivals in both India and abroad. Uma is also a casting director and her credits include Deepa Mehta's Water, Mira Nair's Monsoon Wedding, Sarah Gavron's Brick Lane, Jane Campion's Holy Smoke and John Jeffcoat's Outsourced.

Bunty Chand is the Executive Director of Asia Society India Centre. She is overseeing the development of Asia Society India Centre and is responsible for fundraising, development of diverse programmes and establishing relationships and building support for the Centre with a broad array of corporate and institutions in India. She spent ten years with AT&T in USA and Hong Kong in the areas of Strategy & Business Development, Human Resources and Training & Development. She has lived and worked in the US, Philippines, Hong Kong and Singapore. Bunty is on the board of Lok Foundation, a charitable trust to promote financial and social inclusion principally, in India by means of targeted grants, technical support, research and advocacy.

Rachel Cooper is Global Director of Performing Arts and Cultural Initiatives at the Asia Society. She has presented and curated films from India, Indonesia, China, Iran, Japan, Korea, Thailand as well as producing and presenting performances from throughout Asia. She has co-sponsored and presented various film festivals and film series at the Asia Society, including Iranian Documentary and Short Film Festival, the Asian American International Film Festival, IAAC India Film Festival, among others. She has organised major arts and culture initiatives including Festival of Song: Music of India and Pakistan; Creative Voices of Islam in Asia, Festival of Indonesia, Dance the Spirit of Cambodia. She has conducted and published research on international impact of the arts which resulted in a report Making a Difference through the Arts. In 2006 she was awarded the Dawson Award for Sustained Excellence in Arts Programming.


Charudutt Acharya is a screenwriter and director whose main body of work has been in Indian television drama. He is a graduate in film directing from the Film and Television Institute of India, and also holds a MA in feature film screenwriting from the Royal Holloway University of London. His has written and directed Sonali Cable and his co-writing credits include Dum Maro Dum, Vaastu Shashtra, and Nautanki Saala! 

Pubali Chaudhuri completed the Screenplay Writing Course at the Film & Television Institute of India (FTII) in 2006 and has been working as a professional screenwriter in Mumbai since then. She is the screenwriter for Rock On and Kai Po Che. She has also been a faculty member at the Screenwriting department at Whistling Woods International Ltd and a visiting faculty member at FTII. Pubali received the Charles Wallace Writer Fellowship in 2013 at the University of Chichester, United Kingdom.

Vikas Sharma is an Associate Professor of Screenwriting at the Film and Television Institute of India, Pune. He graduated from FTII specializing in Scriptwriting. 



Mentor Emeritus

Juhi Chaturvedi is a screenwriter and advertising professional. Her debut film, Vicky Donor, won the 2013 Filmfare Award for Best Story and the IRDS Film Award for Social Concern. Her writing credits also include Madras Café and Piku.

Saket Chaudhary is a writer-director. He began his career as a writer with Movers and Shakers. He has written and directed two popular television shows, Kyon Hota Hai Pyar and Dil Kya Chahta Hai. His film Pyar ke Side Effects received much acclaim and many awards. The sequel, Shaadi ke Side Effects, released in December 2013.

Sriram Raghavan is one of India's more exciting writer-directors. Sriram's films reflect a strong tradition of film noir, which is a delightful addition to narratives in Hindi cinema, with Johnny Gaddaar (2007) being the best-known and most widely acclaimed. His work includes films like Ek Hasina Thi (2004), and Agent Vinod (2012). Sriram is a graduate of the Film & Television Institute of India.