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ToI Dialogues Lucknow – A Report

ToI Dialogues Lucknow - Modern Cinema Culture - A pane ldiscussion

The Times of India’s ToI Dialogues event series is a platform for interesting discourses on Decoding the Growth Stories in Uttar Pradesh

The second edition of TOI Dialogues took center stage in Lucknow on June 25, 2024, at the elegant Hotel Taj Mahal. With the compelling theme of ‘Decoding the Growth Story of Lucknow,’ the event featured six captivating discussions. These sessions delved into economic opportunities, celebrated the achievements of outstanding sportspersons and athletes, explored modern cinema culture, and championed women empowerment.

Keynote Address

Uttar Pradesh’s Deputy chief minister Brajesh Pathak delivered the keynote address. He highlighted the growth and development story of Lucknow in terms of Road and Transport connectivity as well as the new T3 Airport Terminal. He said, “Lucknow has adapted the culture of metropolitan cities but also maintained the culture of villages”. Read more  or Watch the Recorded Video


Session 1: Economic and Business Growth

IIM Lucknow Professor Devashish Das Gupta, CII UP Chairperson Smita Agarwal, Brigadier Vinod Bajiya, executive director of Banas Dairy (AMUL), and Ankit Sahni, founder of The Hazelnut Factory, discussed the evolving business landscape in Lucknow. They highlighted how the city is becoming increasingly conducive for startups, particularly due to the government’s focus on incubation centers and the facilitation of the startup ecosystem.

Session 2: Promotion of Sports – India’s Grassroots strategy for upcoming Olympics

A panel featuring AFI President Adille Sumariwala, Manjusha Kanwar (DGM, Sports Department, IOC) and former Indian Hockey Captains – Zafar Iqbal and Jagbir Singh discussed about the bright future of India in Sports at the international level including the Olympics.

ToI Dialogues Lucknow session titled - Sporting Brilliance - Cricketer Mohammad Kaif talks about his experiences and the future of Cricket in Uttar Pradesh

Session 3: Sporting Brilliance – Mohammad Kaif

In the fireside chat, Mohammad Kaif, a well-known name in Indian Cricket, who hails from Uttar Pradesh shared his thoughts on the evolution of Cricket Coaching in India. He quoted several big names in Cricket while speaking about how Uttar Pradesh is touted as the most promising talent pool for Cricket in India.

Session 4: Modern Cinema Culture

Shifting the focus to factors that could attract investors to the state, the session on cinema and video content featured five panelists: Faisal Malik, Amit Sial, and Rahul Mitra from the Indian film industry; Maroof Umar, a content creator from Lucknow; and Himanshu Bajpai, a popular Dastaango and storyteller from Lucknow. Filmmaker Rahul Mitra, along with actors Faisal Malik and Amit Sial, shared their journeys and motivations for pursuing careers in filmmaking and acting. Maroof Umar and Himanshu Bajpai discussed the emerging trend of hyper-local content creation.

ToI Dialogues Lucknow - Modern Cinema Culture - A pane ldiscussion


Session 5: Empowering ‘Nari Shakti’ in Uttar Pradesh

Anandi Agarwal, chairperson of the Women Entrepreneurs’ Cell at the Indian Industries Association, emphasized the importance of encouraging more girls to pursue skill-based education. Echoing this sentiment, Padma Shri awardee Runa Banerjee, social worker and co-founder of SEWA, highlighted her efforts in empowering women chikankari artisans in Lucknow. She pointed out that better law and order in smaller cities is crucial for enabling women to work outside their homes.

Veteran social worker Divya Shukla, founder of Samarth Foundation, focuses on aiding the children of women laborers. She believes that ensuring the safety and well-being of these children would enable women to contribute more significantly to society. Vartika Punjabi, Chief Operating Officer of Ada Chikan, added that training women in technologies such as e-commerce is essential for their career and entrepreneurial growth.


ToI Dialogues Lucknow - Actor Randeep Hooda speaking on the topic - Uttar Pradesh - Ek Rang Manch


Session 6: Uttar Pradesh – Ek Rang Manch

Randeep Hooda captivated the audience with his thoughts on a variety of topics, from the cultural richness of Uttar Pradesh to the challenges faced by the film industry. He passionately advocated for the promotion of ecotourism and highlighted the untapped potential of filmmaking in the state.

During his conversation, Hooda enthused, “The Dudhwa-Pilibhit-Kishanpur forest range is one of the world’s most biodiverse areas. Its potential for tourism is immense, but improving connectivity to the region is crucial.”

Hooda also praised the state’s efforts to boost film production, noting the incentives, rebates, and the authorities’ prompt responses. He confidently predicted that the UP brand would soar to new heights in the next five years.

About TOI Dialogues
TOI Dialogues is a platform curated by The Times of India. It is created for insightful discourse on growth in health, business, education, and culture. The event series began in Uttar Pradesh with events in Gorakhpur, Lucknow, and Varanasi.


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