Filmmaker Launches Asian Arts organization and Film Festival
The Indus Review
by Jyotsna Bodh

A conversation with Harish Saluja fills the air with his unbound energy. His non-stop wit and self-deprecating humor, touching stories, quotes from poets and philosophers mixed in with an admirable sense of idealism puts people half his age to shame. One is drawn into his beautiful world and starts thinking, ‘this is how one should live one’s life…with passion’.

Harish Saluja, Renaissance manMost know Saluja as a filmmaker. The Journey, his feature film, a cross-cultural comedy/drama, was screened in over 20 film festivals, received Audience Awards for Best Film in many film festivals. The film reunited Roshan Seth and Saeed Jaffrey, two of India's most distinguished actors who were both in Gandhi. The film is now with IFC (the Independent Film Channel).

Harish founded Silk Screen, an Asian Arts and culture organization. It conduts year-long programming and the annual Asian American Film Festival.

Celebrating diversity and multi-cultural appreciation through film, it'll be a week-long event that will showcase over 30 films, filmmakers and actors with origins in Asia.

Numerous organizations are involved with this Festival including Pittsburgh Filmmakers, the Universities, the Pgh Cultural trust, Pgh Asian American Young Professionals Assn, World Affairs Council, WDUQ, WQED, and several others.

Originally from Punjab, India, he received a degree in engineering from the prestigious IIT, Kharagpur but always had a strong love of the visual arts, music and filmmaking. He came to the US in 1971 and settled in Pittsburgh as Publisher of two technical magazines.

A true renaissance man, Saluja is an engineer, entrepreneur, publisher, painter, filmmaker, screenwriter, distinguished speaker, and radio host.

Saluja was associate producer of Tony Buba's film No Pets, and executive producer of the feature film Dog Eat Dog.

He has acted in various commercials and also acted in the Walt Disney film Money for Nothing. His film company, New Ray Films (www.newray.com), was established in 1995. He is presently directing and producing two films: GM Inc. and Chasing Windmills.

As a man who has pursued a full range of artistic interests, his abstract paintings, reminiscent of Kandinsky and Jackson Pollock, have been exhibited in the US and Europe. They are inspired by music and the colors, emotions and textures of the music of Indian ragas.

In 1972 he began hosting “Music From India” on National Public Radio affiliate WDUQ-FM (www.wduq.org). The program menu ranging from popular Hindi film scores to Indian classical music, is still running strong with Saluja as its bi-weekly co-host.

A tireless entrepreneur and business leader, Saluja was the Executive Director of TiE Pittsburgh (www.teipgh.org), an organization of industry professionals who share the common interests of promoting and fostering entrepreneurial efforts.

As if all this were not enough, Saluja also finds time to teach “Film and World Culture” at University of Pittsburgh.