Harish Saluja is a filmmaker and artist residing in Pittsburgh, United States. He is the founder and Executive Director of Silk Screen Asian Arts and Cultural Organization, host of “Music from India” radio program, working on his next feature film and creating art for upcoming gallery shows.
Saluja was raised in India’s northwest state of Punjab. Growing up, he had a passion for art. His mother, a singer, exposed him to classical Indian music. He was fascinated by film, especially the work of filmmaker of Satyajit Ray. Saluja would ride his bike even in the most extreme weather just so he could watch the newest releases.
Moving to Bombay and studying film was Saluja’s dream as a boy, but instead he settled for the secure path of engineering. He graduated with a degree from the prestigious IIT, Kharagpur and spent the following four years working as an engineer in a mining company.
In 1971 Saluja moved to the United States, where, he believed that in America an artist could undoubtedly flourish. After quickly learning that art doesn’t always buy bread, Saluja headed to Pittsburgh, well known for its steel industry. He was told that this was a place where an engineering degree would be appreciated. He was hired at a publishing company – of which he eventually became co-owner.
Work in Film
Saluja began working in film as Associate producer on Tony Buba’s No Pets (1994) and then as the executive producer of Dog Eat Dog. He also acted in various commercials and in the Disney film Money for Nothing starring John Cusack.
In 1995 he established New Ray Films . Its first film was The Journey (1997) - which he wrote, directed, produced and also acted in a small role. The film is a Comedy/drama chronicling the cultural and generational shock of a retired Indian headmaster who comes to the U.S. to visit his physician son and American daughter-in-law. The film starred Roshan Seth and Saeed Jaffrey, two extremely talented Indian actors who were appearing together for the first time after Gandhi (1982) and My Beautiful Laundrette (1985).
The Journey premiered at the Seattle Film Festival in 1997 and was screened in over 20 festivals nationwide. It won the Audience Award for Best Film at the Florida Film Festival and the Best Independent Film award at the Cleveland Film Festival. The film also had a wide release in theaters across India.
Critics praised Saluja’s first film. In Variety, Emanuel Levy wrote: "technically accomplished directorial debut from Harish Saluja this nicely executed cross-cultural, cross-generational seriocomedy deserves to be seen on the big screen, particularly in cities with Indian (and other immigrant) communities."
Driven by the subject matter and message his film delivers, Saluja stated to the India Post: "Even though India has the largest filmmaking industry, there have been very few filmmakers of stature among the Indian immigrants. I feel that we – the Indian community – should make films about Indians in America."
Saluja has discussed his passion for telling stories about Indian Americans in many interviews. He believes that it is up to the visionaries of this community to get their stories told.
In addition to making films, Saluja has also shared his knowledge by teaching courses through the Honors College at the University of Pittsburgh.
Currently Saluja is working on two films.
In addition to his work in film, Saluja has produced many works of abstract art that combine vivid colors and musical patterns. He has created series based on Ragas and on jazz. Harry Schwalb of ARTnews described Saluja's style, writing: "Saluja sees the music's endless patterns – which evolve simultaneously in repetitively strummed layers of tone and rhythm – as like colored threads, woven by the performer into a musical carpet." Saluja’s work has been showcased at various galleries in USA and Europe.
Saluja co-hosts the weekly radio program "Music From India," which runs every Sunday night on the NPR affiliate, WDUQ-FM. The program has been airing since 1972 and is one of WDUQ's longest-running programs. It is the longest-running Indian music program in the country and among the longest in the world.
His work as a radio host has made Saluja well known in the Indian community around Pittsburgh. He is often asked to emcee various community events and festivities.
Please see the following links for more articles and video clips of Harish Saluja:
"Living Life King Size" Business World' http://www.newray.com/files/Living%20Life%20Kingsize.jpg
"Engineer, Artist, Radio Host, Filmmaker: Harish Saluja" http://www.newray.com/files/Engineer.pdf
"Filmmaker completes his 'Journey'" http://www.newray.com/files/filmmaker.pdf
"'The Journey' Producer Both Actor and Director" http://www.newray.com/files/pghpg_dir.pdf
Silk Screen Festival—Comcast Newsmakers: Harish Saluja http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=907nZyWn9LI&feature=player_embedded
Comcast Newsmakers: Harish Saluja on Silk Screen 2008 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a6ltizG5L8o&feature=player_embedded#
The Silk Screen Movie Festival http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hcLcVm5yc50&feature=player_embedded
Harish Saluja on Pittsburgh Today Live http://email@example.com
- WDUQ's Biography of Harish Saluja
- Filmmaker Completes His "Journey," Niki Kapsambelis
- Harish Saluja on NYTimes.com
- "Cultural Awareness: An Important Story," Kelli McElhinny, Pop City feature
- The "Journey" Is Complete, Harry Kloman
- Pittsburgh Post Gazette Newsmakers: "Harish Saluja / Local film producer a believer in the arts," 29 Sept. 2003
- indieWIRE: Harish Saluja's "Journey"--A Lesson in Selling, The Hard Hard Way