Farhan Akhtar speaks at London School of Economic’s India Forum

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Naman Ramachandran conducted an ‘in conversation with’ interaction with Farhan Akhtar on the topic of ‘Bollywood and its Omnipotence’

London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) has hosted twofold forums as part of the annual ‘LSE India Forum 2017’ (LIF), a leading forum in the UK involving keynote speeches and panel discussions on major economic, political and cultural issues facing contemporary India. LIF serves as a platform for students and young professionals alike to engage with some of India’s leading industrialists, politicians, economists and popular culture icons. The first forum featured an in-conversation interaction between Anupama Chopra and Karan Johar, on the topic of Bollywood and its Soft Power.The second forum involved eminent business, political and Bollywood personalities sharing their perspectives on the theme:

‘India – A Superpower In The Making?’The conference closed with the Entertainment Panel led by acclaimed film director, prouder and director Farhan Akhtar alongside author, journalist and film writer Naman Ramachandran on the topics of ‘Bollywood and its Omnipotence’ – ‘Indian film stars going beyond the realms of Bollywood’, ‘Influence of Bollywood’s soft power on Indian viewers, and Censorship and freedom of artistic expression: A balancing act’. The forum was structured into five thought-provoking panels
and topics included:

  • The Economics panel – discussing the hot topic of the year 2016 – Demonetisation & Digitisation, India’s readiness for a Cashless Economy – the steps required, impact on inflation and economic growth, and the sectors that reap the benefits and which near the brunt. Participants: Lord Meghnad Desai, Dr. Surjit Bhalla, moderated by Prof. Maitreesh Ghatak.
  • The Business & Entrepreneurship panel discussed ‘Paradigm Shifts for Business in India’, Driving Innovation; Shifting gears in the automobile landscape; the role of ‘Make in India’: has it been able to transform red tape into a red carpet?; and David and Goliath: Can our home-grown brands challenge international players? Participants: Neeraj Kanwar, Sudhir Mehta, Shiv Khemka, moderated by Prof Alnoor Bhimani
  • The Politics panel debated the topic ‘Modi’fied India: The Way Ahead’, a constructive analysis on the question of ‘India, the lone bright spot in today’s global economy’, ‘Weaving India’s social fabric – are we strengthening our democratic ideals’, ‘India’s Foreign Policy push: Progressive, or Volatile?’ and ‘Decoding the 2017 state election results’. Participants: Ajay Maken, Shazia Ilmi.
  • The Finance keynote address was given by Deepak Parekh, Chairman of HDFC, who discussed ‘Financial Reforms in India: Challenges and Opportunities’. Participants: Deepak Parekh. The conference closed with the Entertainment Panel led by acclaimed film director, prouder and director Farhan Akhtar alongside author, journalist and film writer Naman Ramachandran on the topics of ‘Bollywood and its Omnipotence’ – ‘Indian film stars going beyond the realms of Bollywood’, ‘Influence of Bollywood’s soft power on Indian viewers, and ‘Censorship and freedom of artistic expression: A balancing act’.

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