Climbing every mountain
Krushnaa Patil, Everest summiteer
At 19, Krushnaa Patil has her eyes set on the tallest peaks in all the seven continents. This, after conquering Mount Everest in May, Mt Kilimanjaro in Africa in October and Mt Vinson Massif in Antarctica in December 22, 2009. Krushnaa is a student of the Nehru Institute of Mountaineering (NIM) Uttar Kashi, is now mid-way from achieving the feat of climbing the tallest peaks in seven continents. She has always had an adventurous streak, and had been trekking and mountaineering since she was in standard IV. She completed her basic adventure and advanced training courses from the NIM, Uttar Kashi, fetching A's in all the subjects.
“Krushnaa is like any other good trekker when it comes to strength and fitness. The key differentiator is her mental stamina. She is focused on what she wants. Her parents are supportive and encouraged her.’’
Anirudh Chaoji, trekker..
Portrait of an artiste as a young man
RAHUL DESHPANDE, Hindustani classical vocalist
Legendary vocalist Pandit Vasantrao Deshpande's legacy is in the safe hands of his grandson Rahul Deshpande. This performer moves from classical ragas to khayal, dadra, thumri, bhajan, ghazal, bhaav geet and natyageet. This Puneite started formal singing at the age of six. His true inspiration was Pandit Kumar Gandharva. Rahul has tutored under Gangadharbua Pimpalkhare, Usha Chipalkatti and Mukul Shivputra, son of the legendary Kumar Gandharva. He represents a new generation of classical singers in his innovative, often radical forms of traditional singing. His inventive thought is that by glueing oneself to one gharana, one restricts an artist's natural growth and evolvement. The young performer has a full-throated voice and mixes styles from different gharanas.
“Rahul is talented, a good musician with a great voice. Since his grandfather was such a great artiste, there are many expectations from him. In the next ten years, he will be one of the leading vocalists.’’
Sanjeev Abhyankar, Hindustani vocalist.
Shuttler with different strokes
Sayali Gokhale,badminton player
Sayali Gokhale, the world's 59th ranked badminton player, had a great 2009, when she won the Spanish Open and reached the quarterfinals of the Scottish and Czech International Open. Sayali's golden moment arrived when she defeated Kerala's Thulasi 21-17 16-21 21-13 in the 73rd National Badminton championship at Indore in 2009. She trains under Anil Modak at the Tata-Padukone Academy on Jungli Maharaj Road. Modak said Sayali was a stroke player who did not believe in slow games. She also keeps her cool and bounces back.
“Her great strength is her natural game, which she has polished. Her other strength is her cool temperament. She never gets excited during a game. She should become more aggressive and consistent with her wins. Girish Natu, international badminton umpire
Big steps on the small screen
Expressive eyes, a warm smile and spontaneity have made Mrumayee Deshpande a rising star in the entertainment industry. Of course, her theatre background and talent are added qualifications. This SP College student gained popularity through serials like Agnihotra and Kunku, but it was Sumitra Bhave's film, Ek Cup Chya that brought her wider acceptance. She was in the company of acting greats like Mohan Agashe, Vikram Gokhale, Suhas Joshi and Mohan Joshi. She got to work with three well-known directors Shrirang Godbole, Satish Rajwade and Pratima Kulkarni. Each of Kunku's episodes, saw her in meatier and more complex roles earning accolades and adding to her fan base.
“I saw her on stage and found that she has great potential as an actor in teleserials and on the big screen. She is expressive and emotive and as an actor, evolved with sound judgement.’’
Shrirang Godbole, co-director-producer, Agnihotra.
Maker of classy Marathi films
A commerce graduate who veered off to film-making and writing plays, Sachin Kundalkar's Marathi film Nirop, which won the National award, was only his second. His recent film Gandh won accolades because he dared to play around with genres. Kundalkar trained in La Femis (Paris) and at the Film and Television Institute of India. He experimented with this art form in three films - Restaurant, Nirop and Gandh - which have been critically acclaimed and showcased at national and international film festivals. A protege of film-makers Sumitra Bhave and Sunil Sukthankar, his films carry a distinctive stamp. The craft with which his movies are made clearly reveal Kundalkar is a product of world cinema. He is responsible for the new wave of Marathi movies taking giant strides in bringing Indian cinema to a world-class level.
I knew him as a college student who joined worked with us as an assistant for six years. As a film-maker, he has a strong cinematic sincerity and concern. His films come from the heart and intellect.’’
Sunil Sukthankar, film-maker.
Mind games and master moves
Soumya Swaminathan, woman grandmaster
Pune's woman grandmaster created waves when she was crowned the world junior chess champion in Argentina in 2009. Soumya follows in the footsteps of illustrious chess players like grandmaster Koneru Humpy and woman grandmaster Dronavalli Harika who have also achieved the feat earlier. She won the world junior chess title at Puerto Madryn in Argentina in 2009, defeating big players like Russia's woman international master (WIM) Inna Ivakhinova, WIM Nazi Paikidze (Georgia), WIM Padmini Rout (India), WIM Ziaowen Zhang (China) and WGM Lozefina Paulet (Romania).
Soumya is an aggressive player and on her day, she can beat the best. She was extremely composed throughout at the world juniors' tournament. Despite two early losses, she won five straight matches to win the title. Abhijeet Kunte, chess grandmaster.
Bursting on the national scene
Divya Deshpande,table tennis player
Table tennis player Divya Deshpande has had a fantastic year in 2009 when she was crowned the national junior champion in January and the national senior champion in November. The gold medals in the senior national women's championship in Patna and the east zone national ranking championships in Siliguri in 2009 added to the winning spree. She has been among the top four players for the last 3 to 4 years and has played many international tournaments, including the Commonwealth Youth Games. The nationals' win will be cherished, Deshpande had said.
“Divya can adapt to her opponent and raise her game. This has made her beat the top players in the last two years. She has become a fast-paced player and is consistently improving her national rankings in both the youth and women's categories. She can go international.’
Uday Bhalchandra, vice-president of Pune District Table Tennis Association
Wild card entry ends with two titles
Ankita Raina, tennis player
The national junior and senior titles in 2009 is the stuff champions are made of. Ankita Raina who trains under coach Hemant Bendrey at the PYC Gymkhana is set for more action in the Junior Australian open tournament this month. Just how good a tennis prospect Ankita Raina is, was evident when she managed to win the senior national tennis championship despite being a wild card entrant. In the summit clash, she prevailed over Karnataka's fourth seeded player, Sheethal Goutham 7-6 (7-2) 6-2 in a 105-minute marathon battle. Her coach Hemant Bendrey says hers is a rare feat. At 16, the junior and senior title in the same year, are a big achievement.
“Ankita works harder than any player her age. She is also super fit and committed and hence she wins so easily. Ankita also plays the important points much better than others.
Nandan Bal, India's Davis Cup coach..
With a voice to die for
BELA SHENDE, singer
Her turning point came when she won the National award for the TVS Sa Re Ga Ma Pa mega final when she was 16. With a voice that rings strong in the music industry, Bela Shende has arrived. She gets her musical gene from her grandmother Kusum Shende, the Marathi stage actress and a singer of the Kirana gharana and her father Sanjeev Shende, a light classical vocalist. Her sister Sawani is her guru.Her voice can be heard in Bollywood films and in regional movies. From Marathi bhaav geet and devotional numbers to songs for movies like Uttarayan, Thaang and Natrang and on to Hindi films like Paheli, Jodhaa Akbar and What's Your Rashee. Her albums Sahaj Tujhi Gaath Pade include eight songs written by Marathi poet Ga Di Madgulkar. And yes, she always rocks at the concerts.
“Her versatility is remarkable. We thought she was good at light, frothy songs, but she has now sung lavanis with aplomb. She has the same sincerity for a 4-second jingle as for a 4-minute song.’’
Sawani Shende, sister.
They perform, their music rocks
Two brothers, who could not buy musical instruments, made friends with those who owned a dhol, mrudung or a harmonium. It was only when they were well in college that their parents bought them a keyboard, which they consider their greatest gift. And now they are creating waves in the music industry. The Gogavale brothers, Ajay-Atul, compose music for films, tele serials, plays, ballets, advertisements besides their chartbusting music albums. Their first hit was the gondhal number Aai Bhavani and Varyavarti Gandh Pasarla in the film Savarkhed-Ek Gaon. There has been no looking back for the young music directors, who come from a non-musical family background.
They may well be the top music directors. They are a winning team who have broken their own records. Their music is always unique from folk to the traditional. They dare to be experimental and are successful with it.’’ Makarand Anaspure, actor.
They are young at heart and in spirit if not in age
Woman of steel
Anu Aga, board of directors, Thermax Limited
Resilience, grit, determination, the courage to speak out against communal carnage and her devotion to raising the standards in some of Pune's municipal schools through Thermax Foundation portray Anu Aga's spirit. She is now a director on the board of Thermax Limited, a leading player in energy and environment management, after retiring as the company's chairperson in October 2004. Aga had taken over the reins of the company and steered it through personal and professional challenges. She now champions communal harmony and human rights, women's and children's causes besides being active in national and local industry associations after being at the helm of affairs of the CII's Western Region. Aga writes extensively on many subjects and gives talks on corporate governance, corporate social responsibility and the role of women and education. Her dialogue with employees through the company's in-house magazine Fireside have been extremely thought-provoking
"My mother Anu has been among my closest friends. She continues to inspire me with her resilience, commitment to values and her willingness to move on in life.”
Meher Pudumjee, daughter
The answer is blowin' in the wind
Tulsi Tanti, Chairman & managing director, Suzlon Energy Limited
He made wind energy a fashionable word in business and politics. Tulsi R Tanti, founder-chairman & managing director of Suzlon Energy Limited, realised the power and potential of this sector. Tanti has led the group since inception and piloted Suzlon to its position as the world's third leading wind energy group. Operating across five continents, the company logged revenues of approximately USD 5.5 billion for 2008-09.
The journey began with Tanti's textile venture in Gujarat when, in 1994, at the helm of a young and growing business, he faced escalating power costs and unreliable supplies. Looking for a solution, he found the answer in wind. He set up two wind turbines to supply electricity for his textile unit. As his business flourished, he recognised the potential of wind energy, and in 1995, it became Suzlon Energy Limited that is also a socially responsible enterprise. His social development initiatives and advocacy of climate change mitigation have won numerous awards and accolades. Champion of the Earth 2009 from the United Nations Environment Programme, Hero of the Environment by TIME magazine, Entrepreneur of the Year 2006 by Ernst & Young are his for keeps.
"Tulsi Tanti's success has shown that India's story goes beyond information technology and bio technology. India has built a wealth of knowledge in many fields, currently being tapped into to help resolve the global crises. ”
Ajit Someshwar, National Convenor, Canada India Foundation.
Reads the right pulse, almost always
Suresh Kalmadi,MP and sports administrator
Perhaps it is his experience as a fighter pilot that makes Suresh Kalmadi a political survivor and an ace organiser. The high-flying politician and sports administrator has always wanted much more than his support base or constituency permits. This Sharad Pawar confidante, though a Kannadiga, has entrenched himself in Pune's politics. He strengthened his support base by promoting meritorious OBCs, Dalits and Marathas, who did not belong to political families. Kalmadi virtually ruled the city from 1992 to 2007 by dominating the Pune Municipal Corporation. As a sports enthusiast, he introduced the Pune International Marathon 23 years ago and put through the hiccup-free Commonwealth Youth Games in 2008. His initiative, the annual Pune Festival during Ganeshotsav, is always a star-studded affair. A savvy politician with the right connections, he is known to gets things done irrespective of the hurdles.
Whenever the word ‘international’ comes up in the context of Pune, it is Suresh Kalmadi's name that comes to the fore.”
Dilip Walse Patil, speaker
Doctor's mind, director's touch
JABBAR PATEL, film-maker
This paediatrician took to film-making with a passion and made awards a habit. Jabbar Patel recently got the National award for the the best biographical film, Antardhwani, based on the life and times of santoor maestro Shiv Kumar Sharma. Many of his films have got accolades, bagged a host of National and State awards and are screened at numerous international film festivals. Samnaa, his first film in Marathi in 1975, was an official entry to the Berlin International Film Festival. His Jait Re Jait, produced by the Mangeshkars was critically acclaimed as were his later films like Simhasan, a political satire, Umbartha, Mukta, Ek Hota Vidushak, Musafir and Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar. Tackling a political subject is a routine affair for Patel. He founded the Marathi experimental theatre group, Theatre Academy, and his production of Vijay Tendulkar's play Ghashiram Kotwal is a cult classic.
"He is a brilliant theatre producer and his Ghashiram Kotwal is an absolute classic. He entered cinema late but by the time he did Umbartha, he was an accomplished film director.
Shyam Benegal, film maker.
A voice for the heavens
BHIMSEN JOSHI, legendary classical vocalist
Bharat Ratna Pandit Bhimsen Joshi is India's incomparable musical marvel. The Kirana gharana's legendary vocalist is famous for his khayal singing, taans and his bhajans and abhangs. His music soothes the critics and the masses, who swear it is the closest to divinity. His powerful performances are punctuated by his rich voice, an easy naturalness, and an awesome mastery over rhythm. Panditji can sing to suit the moods of his audience. Just as the powerful, full-throated voice flits from one octave to another, it can cascade into a velvety texture. Catching the emotion in each note, he considers the poetic content of the lyrics as important as the notes of the raga. He is the moving force behind the Sawai Gandharv Music festival in Pune
Panditji is my Bade Bhaiyya. I have told him that he must sing at Sawai Gandharv festival next year. If I can sing at this age, my elder brother too can do so.”
Girija Devi, thumri exponent
Vaccine search ends here
Cyrus Poonawalla,Chairman, Serum Institute
If it is affordable vaccines, it must be Cyrus Poonawalla's Serum Institute of India. The facility that he founded sells shots for rabies, measles and hepatitis B in 140 countries.The institute has brought down the prices of these vaccines to save the lives of under-privileged children right from newborns. Poonawalla has a passion for custom-built limousines. He also runs the family's Poonawalla Stud Farms, which has bred several Derby winners. The Serum Institute was chosen by the WHO to develop an H1N1 vaccine. The company showed unprecedented zeal and is now into the human trials' phase. The vaccine to prevent swine flu will launched by April. Today, the institute is rated as one of the largest biotech companies in the country and accounts for nearly a 10th of the Indian biotech industry revenues pegged at Rs10,000 crore. Nearly 85% of Serum Institute's turnover comes from exports. Its largest clients are UNICEF and the Pan American Health Organization
Poonawalla along with his team has taken Serum Institute to unprecedented heights. Vaccines manufactured by Serum are being sent to countries in Africa by WHO. He has today made a mark for the Indian vaccine industry. ”
Dr Dhananjay Kelkar, Medical Director, Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital
Baba Kalyani, Chairman and managing director, Bharat Forge
He brought pride to the nation by propelling Bharat Forge Ltd to the height of the forging industry through strategic planning and execution. Chairman and managing director Baba Kalyani was among the first to realise global outsourcing opportunities and began preparing production processes to meet the exacting standards that foreign manufacturers would demand. Today, virtually every global automotive manufacturer, original equipment manufacturers and tier-I suppliers source complex forgings from Bharat Forge. The company's clientale includes Ford, General Motors, Volvo, Daimler Chrysler, Toyota, BMW, General Motors, Volkswagen, Audi, Renault, Ford and Volvo. Bharat Forge is among the largest exporters of auto components and a leading chassis component manufacturer in the world. As for the future, the company is all set to make a mark in non-automotive space like the marine, aerospace and nuclear power sector in India and abroad.
He has shown the vision of a brave, new world, breaking boundaries. I consider him a pillar of Indian business and a person to be admired.”
Pramod Chaudhary, chairman of Praj Industries
Alekar is Pune’s Beckett
SATISH ALEKAR, playwright & theatre personality
After watching a Satish Alekar play, the wealthy legacy he has bestowed which few can substitute stands out. Popularly known as the Beckett of Marathi theatre, Alekar is a part of the legendary triumvirate of playwrights, the other two being Vijay Tendulkar and Mahesh Elkunchwar. Alekar has been responsible for ushering in form and content to Indian theatre especially the experimental theatre. Theatre writers are deeply influenced by him and his genre. His political leanings are seen amply in his series of works — be it Begum Barve, Mahanirvan or Mahapoor — and the performing arts, theatre and literature have been superbly juxtaposed to inject a new spirit in the country's theatre scene. As a playwright, his span and scale are unparalleled, mixing the ordinary with the extraordinary, the simple with the obscure, lacing it with dark humour and sharp wit. His plays have been translated and published in several languages.
His plays are modern classics. There is one rare quality that he has - his administrative skills. The way he has looked after Theatre Academy and Lalit Kala Kendra is amazing.
Mahesh Elkunchwar, playwright
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