Anil Dharker

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Anil Dharker
3 December 2008 Gateway protest march Anil Dharker.jpg
Anil Dharker at the 3 December 2008 Gateway rally giving an interview to a news channel.
Residence Mumbai
Nationality Indian
Citizenship Indian
Alma mater University of London
Occupation Journalist, columnist
Children Ayesha Dharker (daughter)
Parent(s) Vasumati and Chandrakant Dharker

Anil Dharker is a columnist and writer. He is the Founder and Director of the Mumbai International Literary Festival[1] which is held in November every year. He is also the Founder and Director of Literature Live! which holds literary evenings through the year in different locations in Mumbai.[2]


After completing a degree in Mathematics in India , he left for England, where he did a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of London.[3]


He joined the academic staff of the University of Glasgow, where he specialised in Building Services Engineering.[4]

On returning to India, he joined the leading architectural firm, Phoroze Kudianavala and Associates as a Senior Consultant. Here he pioneered the concept and practice of fire safety in multi-storied buildings, then a much-neglected field in India. He initiated the use of smoke detectors, sprinklers, positive air pressure and other practices which are now prescribed by law for new buildings.

Due to his extensive writing on cinema, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting placed him on the Advisory Board of the Film Censor Board where he drafted a liberalised and simplified censorship code which eventually formed the basis for the official film certification code.

Later, he moved to the National Film Development Corporation (then called the Film Finance Corporation), and eventually became its head.[5] During this time, many film-makers who are now house-hold names, made their first movies with NFDC. Examples are Govind Nihalani , Saeed Mirza, Aparna Sen, Vidhu Vinod Chopra, Ketan Mehta, Gautam Goutam Ghose.

Dharker was also responsible for opening the Akashwani Auditorium in South Bombay as an art movie theatre.

Dharker`s most significant contribution to NFDC was to enable it to co-produce Richard Attenborough`s film Gandhi, the multiple Oscar winner.

Dharker was also on the selection committees for India`s International Film Festivals and also represented NFDC in overseas film festivals in Cannes, Berlin, Chicago and London.

Anil Dharker has been Editor of a variety of publications, starting with Debonair (a monthly), Mid-day and Sunday Mid-day (evening papers); The Independent, a morning broad-sheet from the Times of India group (described by the then Finance Minister Dr Manmohan Singh as the best newspaper in India) and The Illustrated Weekly of India.

Dharker left the Times of India group to head India TV a business-cum-entertainment channel promoted by the Dalal Street Journal group which was then poised to take off (no relation to the current channel of the same name). He later briefly became Creative Director of the Zee Television Network. Over the years, he has conducted hundreds of interviews with Prime Ministers, Governors, Nobel Prize winning writers, film directors and actors and several others for the national broadcaster, Doordarshan. He is now a regular participant on most news channels where his views are sought on political and social issues.[6]

After his foray into television, Anil Dharker returned to full-time journalism, this time as a free-lance columnist. At various times, his columns appeared in The Times of India, The Hindu, The Economic Times, Khaleej Times, Gulf News, The Scotsman, The Sunday Observer, Mid-day and other publications. His columns now appear in The Asian Age, The Financial Chronicle, Deccan Chronicle, OnStage and The Huffington Post.[7]

In 2010, Dharker founded the Mumbai International Literary Festival. This takes place in November at the National Centre for Performing Arts in South Mumbai and simultaneously at Prithvi Theatre in North Mumbai. Dharker continues as the Festival Director of the litfest.[8] Literature Live! the organisation he founded to run the litfest, also organises literary events through the year in different parts of Mumbai.[1]

Other Interests[edit]

Anil Dharker has been a versatile sportsman. He captained the Table Tennis teams of London University and Glasgow University and played for the Combined British University Table Tennis team.

He played cricket, squash and badminton, representing his university in all sports. He was the recipient of the YMCA London`s Sportman of the Year award. He has represented Bombay Gymkhana in tennis.

Anil Dharker is the Founder and Chairman of the Single Malt Club of Bombay.[9]

Dharker is the Chairman of Citizens for Justice and Peace, a Mumbai-based NGO fighting for redressal in miscarriages of justice.[10]

Anil Dharker has been an invited member of 100 Citizens of Bombay, a member of the Advisory Boards of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), Doordarshan, the Children`s Film Society of India and several film funds for production of films in India. He has also been the recipient of several awards for journalism.

Personal Life[edit]

For several years Dharker has lived in Mumbai with the editor and journalist, Amy Fernandes.

He has two sisters, the former Bharat Natyam dancer Minal Dharker and the writer Rani Dharker.[11]

He has one daughter, the actress Ayesha Dharker from an earlier marriage with the poet Imtiaz Dharker.


  • Sorry, Not Ready: Television in the Time of PM Darshan (Harper Collins)
  • The Romance of Salt about Mahatma Gandhi`s Dandi March (Roli Books)
  • Icons: Men and Women Who Made Modern India (Roli Books)
  • Man Who Talked to Machines (a biography of industrialist O P Jindal)
  • The Possible Dream: The Story of the Mumbai Marathon


  1. ^ a b "Who to Watch Out for at Mumbai’s Lit Fest". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 6 May 2015. 
  2. ^ "India outsources chores as servant culture shifts". The Express Tribune. Retrieved 6 May 2015. 
  3. ^ "Anil Dharker". Retrieved 6 May 2015. 
  4. ^ "Anil Dharker". Retrieved 6 May 2015. 
  5. ^ "Playing a new role". Business Today (business magazine). Retrieved 6 May 2015. 
  6. ^ "Celebrating Words and Wordsmiths in Mumbai". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 6 May 2015. 
  7. ^ "Anil Dharker". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 6 May 2015. 
  8. ^ "Tata Literature Live Festival is not just for bookworms, here is what to look forward to". Retrieved 7 May 2015. 
  9. ^ "Single Status". The Indian Express. Retrieved 7 May 2015. 
  10. ^ "Malicious Lies". Retrieved 7 May 2015. 
  11. ^ "A woman's world". Retrieved 7 May 2015.