Top 5 couples in the Arts
Apurva and Alka Bagri, through The Bagri Foundation, support the annual Asia House Literature Festival and became the lead sponsor of the London Indian Film Festival which celebrates the best of independent Indian cinema. Perhaps the best-known comedy couple in the UK, Sanjeev Bhaskar and Meera Syal are loved for giving us the BBC Two comedy series Goodness Gracious Me and The Kumars at No. 42. While Sanjeev can be seen acting as Dr. Prem Sharma in The Indian Doctor and or as DI Sunny Khan in Unforgotten, Meera has been busy with theatre and writing. Sharnita Athwal & Manga Singh’s reign over the urban Asian dance scene continues with the added attraction of the Taste & Liquor festival and Digbeth Mela in 2016 – both events look set to continue in 2017. Gurinder Chadha and Paul Mayeda Burges are releasing their new film ‘Viceroy’s House’ starring Hugh Bonneville and Gillian Anderson on 3rd March 2017. Anoushka Shankar will be debuting and touring her father’s only opera ‘Sukanya’ in 2017 while Joe Wright will be releasing on screen his political drama ‘Darkest Hour’ about Winston Churchill.
Top 5 Couples in the Arts 2017
- Sharnita Athwal & Manga Singh
- Apurva and Alka Bagri
- Sanjeev Bhaskar & Meera Syal
- Gurinder Chadha and Paul Mayeda Burges
- Anouskha Shankar & Joe Wright
Sharnita Athwal & Manga Singh
Sharnita K Athwal is at the forefront of innovations in South Asian and British dance music and the first Asian woman to head a record label, Shaanti Play Records. She is CEO of Shaanti 11 that champions change and development for British Asian contemporary music scene and is the Artistic Director of the Eastern Electronic Festival – a month long new music and arts festival in Birmingham, which is now in it’s fourth year. Other current roles include being the first female judge at the UK Asian Music Awards (UKAMA), hosting a weekly radio show in India, Germany and the UK to producing four pop-up music events at rush hour, inside Birmingham’s New Street Train Station. Sharnita was also included in the inaugural Cultural Leadership Programme (CLP) ‘Women to Watch’ list which profiled 50 female leaders, directors, producers and curators from across the UK in 2010.
Manga Singh, Founder of Shaanti, is an award winning music-events promoter and music consultant. Recent independent projects includes running number of bars and clubs in Birmingham including The Hockley and the award winning Vaults Bar and Restaurant. Having recently set up his new company Edit & Create, a leisure, entertainment & marketing consultancy, Manga launched the Taste and Liquor Food and Drink Festival in 2015 and Digbeth Mela, an independent festival that aims to celebrate South Asian culture, including music, film, art, poetry and food, in 2016.
Apurva & Alka Bagri
The Hon Apurv Bagri is Managing Director of Metdist Group, a metals trading company founded by his father Lord Raj Kumar Bagri. Apurv is Trustee at The Bagri Foundation, a Trustee at Asia House, TiE (The Indus Entrepreneurs) Global and the Royal Parks Foundation (Chair). Apurv is an alumnus of Cass Business School where he is currently a visiting professor. He also attended the Wharton Executive Business Program and has an honorary doctorate from City University.
Alka Bagri is a Trustee of The Bagri Foundation, whose principal activities relate to education, South Asian cultural heritage, and relief work primarily across the Indian subcontinent and she is a committee member of The Lily Foundation alongside Lady Mohini Kent Noon. Alka has started an organisation called SAAR with the primary objective of doing research on the real essence of Indian music gharanas.
In April 2014, the annual Asia House Bagri Foundation Literature Festival launched an extensive Youth Engagement programme for schools and libraries in London and the Midlands. In 2015, The Bagri Foundation became the lead sponsor of the London Indian Film Festival.
Sanjeev Bhaskar & Meera Syal
Sanjeev Bhaskar OBE is a British Indian comedian, actor and broadcaster, best known for his work in the BBC Two comedy series Goodness Gracious Me and as host of The Kumars at No. 42. Since then he has starred in a number of films, documentaries and shows, including most recently in ITV series Unforgotten (2015). In April 2015 he was given the Outstanding Achievement in Television award at The Asian Awards. In 2005 Sanjeev was awarded an OBE and married his frequent collaborator on Goodness Gracious Me, Meera Syal.
Meera Syal CBE(born Feroza Syal) is a British comedian, writer, playwright, journalist, producer and actress. She rose to prominence as one of the team that created Goodness Gracious Me and became one of the UK’s best-known Indian personalities portraying Sanjeev’s grandmother, Ummi, in The Kumars at No. 42. Her writing credits include novels Anita and Me (1996) and Life Isn’t All Ha Ha Hee Hee (1999). In 2014, she returned to the theatre to take up the lead role in the critically acclaimed play ‘Behind the Beautiful Forevers’ a David Hare play based on Katherine Boo’s book. In June 2015, she launched her book The House of Hidden Mothers and in October 2015, se saw her novel ‘Anita & Me’ adapted for the stage by Tanika Gupta. Meera was awarded the MBE in the 1997 New Year Honours List and a CBE in the 2015 New Year Honours for services to drama and literature.
Gurinder Chadha & Paul Mayeda Burges
Gurinder Chadha OBE is a British film director of Sikh Indian origin who is best known for the hit films Bhaji on the Beach (1993), Bend It Like Beckham (2002) and Bride and Prejudice (2004). After starting her media career in radio in the mid-1980s, Chadha moved into television as a BBC news reporter. She went on to direct award-winning documentaries for the British Film Institute, BBC and Channel Four. In 1990, Chadha set up a production company, Umbi Films. In 2015, Gurinder launched ‘Bend it Like Beckham The Musical’ based on her 2002 eponymous film. She was awarded an OBE in the 2006 Queen’s Birthday Honours List for her services to the British film industry.
Paul Mayeda Berges is an American screenwriter and director. Of Japanese and Basque ancestry, Paul attended the University of California, Santa Cruz, where he studied film and graduated in 1990. He made his directorial debut in 2005 with The Mistress of Spices, based on the novel by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni. He has collaborated on a number of his wife’s films including the upcoming 2017 film ‘Viceroy’s House’, a British-Indian historical drama film Hugh Bonneville as Lord Mountbatten and Gillian Anderson as Edwina Mountbatten.
Anoushka Shankar & Joe Wright
Anoushka Shankar is an Indian sitar player and composer. She is the daughter of Ravi Shankar and the half-sister of Norah Jones. Anoushka was born in London and her childhood was divided between London and Delhi, although as a teenager, she lived in California. She released her first album, Anoushka, in 1998, followed by Anourag in 2000. In 1999 Anoushka graduated from high school with honors, but decided against university in favour of beginning to tour as a solo artist. In 2011 Shankar signed with the legendary record label Deutsche Grammophon as an exclusive artist. This marked the beginning of a prolific recording and creative period for her, during which time she continued to refine the unique sitar sound and innovative musical ideas she had become known for. Anoushka is married to British film director Joe Wright and the couple have two sons.
Joe Wright is an English film director known for the romance film Pride & Prejudice (2005), the romantic drama war film Atonement (2007), the action thriller Hanna (2011), and his 2012 adaptation of the classic Anna Karenina. His most recent film, Pan, is a Peter Pan origin story. He began his career working at his parents’ puppet theatre. He also took classes at the Anna Scher Theatre School and acted professionally on stage and camera. He spent an art foundation year at Camberwell College of Arts, before taking a degree in fine art and film at Central St Martins. In his last year of studies, he received a scholarship to make a short film for the BBC that won several awards and he hasn’t looked back since! Joe won the BAFTA for most promising newcomer for ‘Pride & Prejudice’ and another two BAFTA awards for Best Production Design and Best Film for ‘Atonement’.