Four Alumni to Participate in The Salon’s Mentorship Program

BY Felix van Kann, April 6, 2021

Four alumni have been selected to participate in The Salon's inaugural Salon Mentorship Program. Alumni Raj Trivedi '17 and Ijaaz Noohu '18 have been selected as two of the six directing mentees while alumna Apoorva Charan '18 will participate as one of four executive leadership mentees, and alumna Gauri Adelkar '19 has been selected as one out of seven writing mentees. 


The newly established program, which seeks to amplify South Asian talent and aims to support the next generation of South Asian creatives in Hollywood in the fields of writing, acting, directing, producing, and executive leadership, has a total of 23 participants that have been chosen from a nationwide pool of over 850 candidates. According to The Salon’s website, “The mentees will work closely with their respective mentors over the course of one year to identify areas of growth, discuss strategy, and expand opportunities. Mentees will also have exclusive access to monthly educational programming.”

Raj Trivedi was born in Bombay and grew up in Houston. His films have screened internationally and been awarded grand prizes for screenplays at the Nashville Film Festival. He has also been recognized with the Arthur J. Harris Memorial Prize and Katharina Otto-Bernstein Film Fund. After directing second unit on two seasons of the Homicide City franchise on Discovery ID, Trivedi most recently directed an episode of 20/20 on ABC. He has co-developed and written a pilot for a limited series, and has other feature length projects in the works with other creative partners. Trivedi recently worked as a translator on the set of Associate Professor Ramin Bahrani’s The White Tiger, translating conversations from Hindi to English. He is currently also assisting Bahrani on an upcoming project for Apple TV.


Ijaaz Noohu is a Sri Lankan born, Los Angeles raised director. He was the recipient of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association Fellowship from 2015-2018, and the winner of the Coletta Preacely-Garcia Diversity Tribute in 2018. His feature screenplay Say That You Love Me, a romantic dramedy about a Muslim-American man caught between two cultures, was a semifinalist for the 2019 Screencraft Screenwriting Fellowship. Say That You Love Me is his narrative directing feature debut, and is currently in development. Noohu’s 2018 short film, Start Breaking My Heart was the recipient of the competitive Katharina-Otto Bernstein Award. Start Breaking My Heart screened at festivals such as HollyShorts, Marina Del Rey Film Festival, and Chandler International Film Festival. Noohu also directs music videos for artists across varying genres of music and has worked as director’s assistant to Duke Johnson on the Oscar nominated film Anomalisa.


Apoorva Charan is an LA based producer who was born in Hyderabad, India and raised in Northern California. Charan has produced over twenty short films including Lonely Blue Night which is licensed to HBO and will be premiering at the Atlanta Film Festival, Distance, which premiered at the 29th Singapore International Film Festival 2018, and Interiors which premiered at the TIFF in September 2018 and was an official selection for Clermont-Ferrand 2019. Charan was a 2019 Project Involve creative producing fellow for Film Independent and after working at Big Beach and Walt Disney Studios, moved to Blue Harp to work with Micah Fitzerman-Blue & Noah Harpster. Her producing projects include Gulaab, a feature film set in Pakistan which was selected for the Open Doors Hub at Locarno in 2018 and Akra, a series set in coastal India. 


Gauri Adelkar is a screenwriter and director based in Los Angeles. In 2020, Adelkar was the only participant selected by Film Independent as a Writer/Director Project Involve fellow and was a finalist for the Tribeca Through her Lens program. Her film The Little Goddess was shortlisted for the 2019 BAFTA student film awards and won the Breaking Boundaries Prize at the Academy Qualifying Rhode Island International Film Festival. Adelkar's work has screened globally at venues such as the Hamptons International Film Festival, Athens International Video & Film Festival, New York Women in Film & Television Immigrant Series amongst others. ​Adelkar recently completed production on her film starring Kalieaswari Srinivasan (Dheepan, 2015 Cannes Palme d'Or).


The Salon is a forum for South Asian artists and executives in entertainment to connect and collaborate, share resources, facilitate mentorship, drive public advocacy, and disburse grants. Founded in 2019 by Nik Dodani, Bash Naran, and Vinny Chhibber, The Salon’s mission is to accelerate the creative development of South Asian-American television and film through community organizing and empowerment. 


Led by Rishi Rajani and Reena Singh in collaboration with Salon leadership, The Salon Mentorship Program Our hope is to identify promising young talent in these various fields and pair them with kind, passionate mentors who can serve as a guide and friend in this wild industry.