Creative Media Personalities and their Education
Updated on Jun 21, 2017 - 2:50 p.m. IST by Urvashi Dalal

In the creative media field, the traditional way of entry is through the courses and programmes offered by different institutes. Entering the traditional field is a rigorous process which in turn provides training and prepares them for careers in the field.

The alma mater of traditionally creative people are from top-rung institutes like Film and Television Institute and National School of Drama etc and done courses in Cinematography, Sound Recording and TV Engineering, Direction and Production Design, Acting or Theatre Techniques & Design.

The non-traditional personalities have been trained on the job and have utilised the knowledge that they had earned in a different field and used it to add value to a different field and their creativity. The non-traditional personalities have studied, Electronics and Telecommunications Engineering, English Literature, Physics, Masters Degree in Computer Science, Fine Arts and yet have not only kept their creative streak alive, they have also managed to integrate the knowledge gained.

Careers360 presents a list of personalities who have outshined in the traditional creative media careers and identifies some of the non-traditional stalwarts of the creative media field.


The traditionally schooled icons:

When we hear the word ‘Cinema’, often, rather than defining it, we throw names like Satyajit Ray, Yash Chopra, Amitabh Bachchan, Guru Dutt, and a long list of other big names.

Cinema is a broad term, comprising of Actors, Directors, Theatre Artists, Screenwriters, Music Composers, and other artists that help produce an artistic cinema for the audiences. Both films and theatre are a highly specialised cadre of creative and technical positions. While in films, intimacy is gained through camera angles and close-ups, in theatre, connect with the audience is through dialogues and movement on the stage.

Over the years we have seen many notable artists in the world of cinema, who have swamped us with their artistic creations or power packed intimidating performances. One requires completing a certain professional course to gain knowledge in various fields of cinema.

A few of them who have inspired many others to follow their heart are mentioned below.


Craft: Acting


Shabana AzmiArtist: Shabana Azmi:

A Film and Television Institute of India alumnus, Shabana Azmi is one of the leading actresses in the Parallel Cinema. Hailing from a family of renowned Poet and theatre actors, Shabana was passionate about her acting career. She graduated from St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai, and pursued a course in Acting from FTII. Her first release was Shyam Benegal’s Ankur (1972), which won the national award.


Craft: Cinematography


Anil MehtaCraftsman: Anil Mehta
Rose to fame for his work in ‘Khamoshi’ and ‘Lagaan’, Anil Mehta studied Cinematography at Film and Television Institute of India, Pune. His dedicated work landed him with some of the major productions in the Indian cinema. Mehta has also won the National Filmfare Award for Best Cinematography for his work in Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam in the year 1999.

Craft: Music

Music is a language, understood by many, mastered by few. It is an art of sound that express emotions through instruments, rhythm, harmony and melody. When you combine these elements with words, you compose a song; a collaboration of singers, instrumentalists, and sound artists.

Music comes from your heart and soul and speaks to the world in a language of its own. For many singers, composers, music is a what keeps them going in life. It has a variety, types, that are preferred by people. Some like Jazz, some like hindustani classical or carnatic.

Mostly, a person is required to complete a course in sound recording or sound engineering to pursue a career. For instance, one big name in this field who completed his sound engineering programme is,

Resul PookuttyCraftsman: Resul Pookutty
The Oscar winner, Resul Pookutty had quite a tough journey as a Music Composer. To receive basic schooling Resul had to walk kilometres and study under the light of a kerosene lamp. All his struggle and the perseverance taught him lessons great life lessons.

He graduated in Physics and joined the Sound Engineering course in Film and Television Institute (FTII), Pune. His batch-mates once shared that it was his struggle in his early childhood and genuine interest in music that made him bring out two CDs on sound effects of India. Since then there has been no turning back, and the silent learner, one day went on the stage to receive an Oscar in the history of Sound Recording in India.


Craft: Writers/Novelist

Maria Aurora CoutoCraftsperson: Maria Aurora Couto

Maria Aurora Couto Authors, writers and novelists all play with words but have a fine line of difference. They produce literary arts and creative writings in a simplistic manner to express their views and thoughts. Whilst some write articles, some other weave stories for different subjects or genres. One such name who astounded the world with her craft is Maria Aurora Couto, an Indian writer and novelist.

A Padma Shri recipient, Maria is known for her fearless opinions, especially on Goa’s social and environmental issues. Maria Aurora was a former English Literature teacher at Lady Shri Ram College, Delhi and at Dhempe College, Panaji. The lack of any formal education on writing did not deter her from penning down her first book, "Goa: A Daughter's Story" which is an analysis of the state from pre-liberation Portuguese regime. The book showcases the cultural diversity and history of Goa. Her other book "Graham Greene: On the Frontier, Politics and Religion in the Novels" is her bold voice to bring out issues of Goa.


Non-traditional Stalwarts

Craft: Contemporary Theatre

Lilette DubeyCraftsperson: Lilette Dubey
With Postgraduate Degrees in English and Mass Communication, Lilette discovered her inclination towards arts and theatre from an early age. Without any professional course in acting, she has successfully essayed major roles in many successful plays. Along with drama and theatre, Lilette Dubey’s performance made her bag roles in various Bollywood movies. She runs her own theatre company – The Primetime Theatre.

Craft: Direction

R. BalkiCraftsman: R. Balki
R.Balki wanted to pursue a degree in Direction from the Madras Film Institute. He appeared for the admission interview but walked straight out since he did not like the interview panel. Later, he attended Masters in Computer Application programme from an institute just opposite the film institute. Due to his keen interest in films and lack of attendance, he was thrown out the MCA programme. He skipped classes to watch a movie and learn the art of direction.  R. Balki started his directing career as an Ad Director at Mudra, an advertising agency. Whilst, he was writing advertisements, he wrote his first feature film venture, Cheeni Kum, and directed it in 2007. There has been no looking back since then.

Craft: Screenwriting

Juhi ChaturvediCraftsperson: Juhi Chaturvedi
Juhi completed her degree in Fine Arts from Lucknow College of Arts and Crafts, and moved to Delhi in 1996. She later went to Mumbai for work and ended up with an opportunity in Ogilvy. During her days at Ogilvy, she teamed up with Shoojit Sircar, for completing advertisement assignments. When Shoojit decided to make ‘Shoebite’, he approached Juhi to write for it. Shoojit saw eloquence, virtuosity, and also a sense of maturity to present complex issues with ease in her writing. Her other screen-writings for Piku and Vicky Donor made her won two national awards.

Craft: Animation Movie Direction
Many universities offer animation as a part of new media studies. Animation refers to the producing a character and a movie with the use f graphics and computer techniques. One of the India’s biggest name in animation is Rajiv Chilaka.

Rajiv ChilakaCraftsman: Rajiv Chilaka
Media quoted him as India’s Walt Disney. With his desire to produce original Indian animated characters, Rajiv Chilaka launched ‘Chota Bheem’ and the rest is history in the Indian animation industry. He pursued BE in Electronics and Telecommunications Engineering and utilised his degree in setting up India’s biggest animation production company, Green Gold Animation. To learn more about the skills in animation, he completed a Masters Degree in Computer Science from University of Missouri - Kansas City.

Craft: Photography
Photography is an art form of capturing and processing a photograph. One may or may not require a specialised course to pursue this passion. However, it requires a person to learn a few technicalities related to camera to help develop aesthetic skills to capture the best shots. One of the famous Indian photographers is,

Dayanita SinghCraftsperson: Dayanita Singh
An art lover and a photographer, Dayanita Singh, is a dedicated, creative and artistic photographer. Without a formal degree in photography, she is among the top photographers of India. She once quoted, “Read, read, read. Forget to study photography – just go and study literature. Then you will bring something to photography.” With her quote, she has inspired many students to bring inspiration and perception to their photographs through their education.


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