IAAC Gala – Celebrating the Arts of India

Salman Rushdie, Aroon Shivdasani & Madur Jaffrey at the IAAC Gala

Salman Rushdie, Aroon Shivdasani & Madur Jaffrey at the IAAC Gala – all photos by Andy Chang


IAAC – Spotlighting the Arts, Fashion, People


The arts need creators, facilitators, patrons and an appreciative audience – and all were there in full measure at the IAAC 15th anniversary gala. It was a celebrity spotters delight with Mira Nair, Salman Rushdie, Madhur Jaffrey, Sakina Jaffrey, Sabrina Dhawan, Sarita Choudhury, Manu Narayan and Reshma Shetty.

Mira Nair,  Aroon Shivdasani and Sabrina Dhawan

Mira Nair, Aroon Shivdasani and Sabrina Dhawan


Salman Rushdie and Mira Nair both received awards for their contribution to the arts, as did Dr. Manjula Bansal for her contributions to medicine but also for being a stellar devotee and patron of the arts. Bansal, an attending pathologist, Chief of Clinical Pathology and an associate scientist at the Hospital for Special Surgery, is also an Associate Professor of Clinical Pathology at Weill Medical College of Cornell University.

Mixing medicine and the arts, she has been an ardent supporter of the arts, working with organizations like the National Dance Institute, Asia Society and the World Summit of Children at the UN. She was one of the pioneers to put India on the mainstream radar with her stellar work with her husband Dr. Rajan Bansal on rallying the community in the endowment of a $2.5 million chair in political economy at Columbia University many years ago. She is on the board of the IAAC, always rooting for the arts.


Dr. Manjula Bansal with Aroon Shivdasani

Dr. Manjula Bansal with Aroon Shivdasani


IAAC’s  Arts Whisperer: Aroon Shivdasani

And the indispensable facilitator of the arts was there in the shape of Aroon Shivdasani, the founder and director of IAAC, who has brought art, music, dance and cinema to New York audiences for the past 15 years. As Shivdasani noted, “I owe a huge det of gratitude to a few visionary artists who from the inception of IAAC, shared my passion and unconditionally supported my efforts to showcase emerging, unrecognized as well as veteran talent from the Indian sub-continent.” She invoked the names of Mira Nair, Madhur Jaffrey, Salman Rushdie, Deepa Mehta, Shashi Tharoor, Shabana Azimi, Shyam Benegal and the late greats – Vijay Tendulkar, Ismail Merchant and M.F. Husain and added, “Without these phenomenal cheerleaders our efforts may have remained on ground level. Their presence at our events attracted audiences and media who then discovered other unrecognized talent.”


Manish Arora collection

Manish Arora’s Indian Collection


The Orensanz Foundation for Contemporary Art was jam-packed with movers and shakers, and those there to see the movers and shakers! There was music by the Oscar winning duo of singer/songwriter/composer Paul Williams and pianist/ composer Kenneth Ascher – and a stunning fashion show with the surreal collection of Manish Arora, presented by Sunjay Guleria of Exclusively.in. And oh, yes, Dan Nainan, the stand up comic to tickle your funny bone even as Hemant Mathur of Tulsi tickled your palate with his special menu.

(Interview with Manish Arora coming up soon on Lassi with Lavina )

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About Author

Lavina Melwani is a New York-based journalist who writes for several international publications. [email protected] & @lassiwithlavina Sign up for the free newsletter to get your dose of Lassi!

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