TEDxYouth@Chennai 2010 Ambassador


Anita Ratnam is an accomplished Indian classical and contemporary dancer and choreographer, whose career spans four decades and over 1000 performances in 15 countries. She is the founder- director of Arangham Trust, set up in 1992 in Chennai, here she also founded Arangham Dance Theatre, a performance company in 1993 and in 2000 she created www.narthaki.com, an Indian dance portal. Over the years, she has received numerous awards and recognition for her work in the performing arts in India and abroad as a choreographer, scholar and cultural activist. Classically trained in Bharat Natyam, she has also received formal training in Kathakali, Mohiniattam, and Tai Chi and Kalarippayattu, thus creating a unique dance style which she has coined "Neo Bharat Natyam". Having done her Master's degree in Theatre and Television from the University of New Orleans, in U.S.A., she spent ten years as a Television Producer /commentator in the United States with productions including a weekly series on art, travel and culture in India and the highly acclaimed 'Festival of India's TV series. Her work there earned her Emmy and Ace award nominations. She is also the author of 'Natya Brahman' a book on the comparative drama traditions of India and Greece and is editor and publisher of 'Narthaki' - a directory of Indian dance. Quoting about her inspiration and her works, she says: "I am in dance because this is my own way of connecting with myself and the world. I consider myself a contemporary classicist.

In 2007, she performed her solo operatic performance "7 Graces" at Joyce SoHo, New York in collaboration with Hari Krishnan, a Canada-based dancer-choreographer. she has also appeared in some tamil movies such as Kandukondain Kandukondain(2000) and boys(2003). Anita Ratnam has received several awards and recognition for her work in the performing arts in India and abroad. Some of them are: Mahatma Gandhi Award for Cultural Harmony (1986), Nritya Choodamani(1996), Media Achievement award (1991), Kalaimamani (1998), Natya Ratna (2003), Lalithakalaratna (2003). Today, apart from enchanting audiences being a dancer/ choreographer, Anita performs as a cultural commentator, writer and speaker on the performing arts and deserves credit for her role in furthering the profile of Indian dance internationally.

V. Jayakrishnan    

A Chartered and Cost Accountant by qualification, V. Jayakrishnan is the secretary of Padma Sarangapani Matriculation group of schools in Chennai. He is the founder director of V.V.Rajan & Co. Pvt. Ltd., a leading Publishing house in Chennai. The company publishes 300 titles of school textbooks, which are being used by 3,500 schools in South India. In the last 5 years, the company has diversified into many fields like newspaper publishing, with its 13-edition neighbourhood newspaper, Apollo Times, real estate-Vaikund Estates and educational multi media- Digi Class. It has recently entered into a partnership with an American firm to supply Standard Aptitude Test(SAT) books for American schools. A dynamic entrepreneur, Jayakrishnan has introduced many innovations in the school. He has been responsible for introducing effective teaching methodologies in the school like using mind mapping and using technology and multi media for effective learning. He is the brain behind the annual Science Expo- Synergy in which he ensures that every student participates, with the motto- Learning by Doing. His networking skills, good market sense and visionary approach have made him a leader in the field.

  Ekta Kothari
Karun Chandhok    

Karun Chandhok -Formula One Driver

Karun Chandhok has excelled in every form of racing that he has contested in, starting by becoming the youngest Indian National Racing Champion in 2000. He achieved the impossible by not only being on pole position in all the 10 races but setting the fastest lap in every race as well, which is still a national record. He followed it up in 2001 by winning the opening 5 races of the season and a record 8 races to become the youngest Asian Formula Champion. He also tested with British Formula 3 champion team Carlin Motorsport at the end of the year. Karun was a regular front runner in the British Formula 3 with T-Sport and was instantly a top 5 qualifier and finisher. He rounded off the year by partnering compatriot Narain Karthikeyan in the ‘World Series by Nissan’ for the final two rounds of the year.
The following year Karun was chosen to represent India in the inaugural A1 GP, a series where competitors represent their nation, rather than a private team which is the normally the case in racing. Karun also had the distinction of being the captain of Team India at the renowned ‘Dubai 24hr’ Kart race. In 2006, Karun became the winner of the first ever Asian Formula Renault V6 Championship in dominating fashion by winning 7 out of 12 races, setting more records along the way. In 2007, Karun joined the GP2 series, the official support series for Formula One Championship, with Durango Racing. In probably the best win of his career, Karun sent a strong message to the motorsport world by winning the Belgian GP at the historic Spa-Francorrchamps circuit, resulting in the Indian National Anthem being played for the very first time at a Formula One Grand Prix event.
Having caught the eye of leading Formula One teams, the dream became a reality when the Red Bull Racing team invited Karun to test their Formula One car in late 2007. Driving a Formula One car is the ultimate goal of any racing driver, which Karun managed to achieve at the age of just 24, becoming the youngest Indian to do so. While he has set the tone for motorsport in India, it is hard to believe that this youngster from Chennai has managed to achieve all this at the age of 26.
He was the recipient of the Overdrive Magazine’s ‘Motorsport Man of the Year’ in both 2002 and 2004, a feat accomplished by no other driver. In his first year of the GP2 Series in 2007, Karun was awarded ‘Most Improved Driver of the Year’ and followed it up next year by winning the award for the ‘Best Driving Style’ by the GP2 series. 2008 also saw him being the recipient of the Overdrive Magazine-Aaj Tak Motorsport award as well as the NDTV Profit – Car Magazine Motorsport awards. Karun also has the distinction of being India’s first and only certified instructor at the Silverstone Racing School in England and for his achievements and contribution to motorsport, has become India’s only member of the prestigious British Racing Driver’s Club (BRDC).

  Ekta Kothari