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A.R. Rahman, Murthy and Gates bag CineMaya Media Group Indian & American Achiever Awards

Washington D.C, Sep. 14, 2007
Sant Parkash Singh

NRIs worldwide and US entrepreneurs held the inaugural CineMaya Media Group Indian & American Achiever Awards on Thursday, September 13, 2007 at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C.

The Indian & American Achiever Awards (IAAA) were presented in the following categories to individuals and companies who have played a vital role in enhancing the India-USA relationship:

  • Innovation, Science & Technology, Arts, Entertainment and Media, Multi-National Company (MNC) and Gandhi Lifetime Achievement Award

Supported by the US – India Business Council, this inaugural event is celebrating the 60th Anniversary of India's Independence and recognizing individuals and multi-national corporations (MNCs) who have contributed towards the collective advancement and growth of the two largest democracies in the world.

The Chief Guest of the event was Honorable Ambassador from India to the United States, Ronen Sen.

The sponsors of the event include Air France, Nationwide, DIRECTV, and Air India. Patrons include State Bank of India, HSBC, and ICICI Securities

The prestigious awards were instituted to recognize individuals and companies who have excelled in their fields, in four separate categories. There were two Honorees in each category, one an Indian and the other an American. The winners were:

  • Innovation, Science & Technology
    Indian: N. R. Narayana Murthy, Chairman & Chief Mentor, Infosys
    American: Bill Gates, Chairman, Microsoft
  • Arts, Entertainment and Media
  • Indian: A.R. Rahman
    American: Richard Gere
  • Multi-National Company
    Indian: Tata Group of Companies
    American: New York Life Insurance
  • Gandhi Lifetime Achievement Award
    Indian: Late Dhirubhai Ambani
    American: Bill Gates, Founder, Gates Foundation

AR Rahman performed a rendition of Jana Gana Mana. Indian actor Kunal Khemu of Kalyug fame hosted the function and Indian National Anthem, accompanied on vocals by Penn Masala, the world’s finest Indian a-cappella group, which also sang the American National Anthem.

AR Rahman said “I am very humbled that I was chosen for such an occasion. The institution of this endowment will pave the way for Indian American students to excel in their fields with mentoring and opportunity for international exposure. It is a wonderful thought, and I look forward to doing my role of mentoring through this endeavor.”

Interspersed with the Awards were performances, by internationally acclaimed maestros of Indian music:

  • Dr. Balamurali Krishna and Pandit Ajoy Chakraborty (in a duet - jugalbandi)
  • Pandit Birju Maharaj
  • Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma

Four undergraduate students will be awarded scholarships of $5,000 each (one per category of awards).

CineMaya Media Group

CineMaya Media Group was established in 2000, and is a pioneer in the ethnic media landscape and entertainment in North America with its successful vertically-integrated business model. The company has since grown into a mini-conglomerate through its brands and value-chain partnerships. Whether measured by quality, track record, client roster, and financial results, our divisions are amongst the top in their categories. We engage audiences, deliver results to clients, and build platforms of synergy between businesses.

From 2000 – 2006 the company in its first phase was focused specifically on the Indian demographic in North America. In 2007, the company expanded to India to become a global entity through converged media platforms across the spectrum of media-entertainment-marketing. The company’s target market is linked to two common threads – India and Indians. The primary consumers, clients, and value-chain partners for the company are currently in India, USA, and Canada.

CinéMaya's founders earned their stripes by producing television content. With over 12 years of experience, and hundreds of hours of filmed programming, CinéMaya has been the leader in South Asian television productions in USA. Sunil Hali, Chairman of CinéMaya made headlines when the New York Times Metro Section placed his first foray into television production on its cover in 1995.
* Ref: CineMaya Media Group


Sep. 13, 2007
  • The panel of esteemed BOARD OF ADVISORS & JUDGES selected the Honorees in each category of awards. The panel consisted of: Hon. Ambassador Robert D. Blackwill; Hon. Ambassador Vijay Nambiar - Chef de Cabinet, United Nations; Ron Somers - President, US-India Business Council; Dr. Jayaraman - Executive Director, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan; and Prof. Sreenath Sreenivasan - Dean of Students, Columbia Graduate School of Journalism, and Co-Founder SAJA.

    A.R. Rahman

    Bill Gates

    N. R. Narayana Murthy