Harish Saluja

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Harish Saluja is a filmmaker and artist residing in Pittsburgh, United States. He is the founder and executive director of the Silk Screen Asian Arts and Cultural Organization and the host of the Music from India radio program. He is working on his next[when?] feature film and creating art for upcoming[when?] gallery shows.

Early life[edit]

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 the filmmaker of Satyajit Ray.

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 IIT, Kharagpur and spent the following four years working as an engineer in a mining company.

In 1971, Saluja moved to the United States. Saluja went 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[edit]

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 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 and produced, as well as acting 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, who were appearing together for the first time after Gandhi (1982) and My Beautiful Laundrette (1985).[1]

The Journey was premiered at the Seattle Film Festival in 1997 and was screened in over 20 festivals nationwide.

In addition to making films, Saluja has also shared his knowledge by teaching courses through the Honors College at the University of Pittsburgh.

Silk Screen[edit]

In 2005, Saluja created Silk Screen, an Asian arts and culture non-profit. Silk Screen's mission is to promote diversity and cross-cultural understanding through immersion in the arts. Saluja's aim was to both provide Asian cultural events for Pittsburgh's immigrant population as well as teach non-Asian Pittsburghers about a culture rich in celebration and beauty. Silk Screen hosts a variety of cultural events throughout the year including dance performances, film screenings and concerts.

Silk Screen's main event is the Silk Screen Asian American Film Festival, a 10-day celebration of Asian film.[2] The festival showcases some of the best in Asian cinema from the past year. Frequently, Silk Screen brings filmmakers to the festival to conduct Q&A sessions with audiences following screenings.[3][4]

Silk Sound[edit]

Silk Screen's reach extends as well to the music industry. The non-profit produced an Asian fusion jazz ensemble called Silk Sound in 2014. The band's distinct sound combines traditional Asian classical music with modern American jazz to create gorgeous, unique harmonies. Silk Sound's debut album, Sun Gate, was released in January 2015.[5]

Art career[edit]

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 galleries in USA and Europe.[6]

Radio work[edit]

Saluja co-hosts the weekly radio program Music From India which is broadcast every Sunday night on the NPR affiliate, WESA, 90.5 FM. The program has been made since 1972 and is one of WDUQ's longest-running programs. It is the longest-running Indian music program in the US and among the longest in the world.[7]


  1. ^ "New Ray Films". www.newray.com. Retrieved 2015-12-08. 
  2. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UcjanlukaDQ, retrieved 2015-12-08  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  3. ^ Vancheri, Barbara. "Silk Screen Film Festival movies cover a lot of territory, in miles and subject matter". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 
  4. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dsnmM35LEqk, retrieved 2015-12-08  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  5. ^ Silk Screen http://www.silkscreenfestival.org/music/silksound/.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  6. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kCqamzsg2iE, retrieved 2015-12-08  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  7. ^ "Music from India". wesa.fm. Retrieved 2015-12-08.