Curley Street

founder | director

Pavitra Chalam is an award-winning documentary filmmaker based in Bangalore. Her films on issues of social importance have received critical acclaim across the world. She has been directing films for over 15 years and is the founder of Curley Street.

Pavitra’s journey into the world of film started in 2003. A part of the Youth Initiative for Peace in Pakistan, she made her film debut with ‘Bus’ – a cinematic exposition on the shared ideals of the youth of both nations. A trip to the World Youth Congress in Morocco followed in quick succession, where Pavitra contributed to the creation of the Casablanca Declaration presented to the United Nations. Building on this international experience, Pavitra traveled across Europe
in 2004 as an Ambassador for a U.N project on social change and used film as a medium to ignite the minds of young people in France, Spain, Germany, UK and Ireland.

Pavitra was also invited to commission a report on the failure of genetically modified crops in India at the Convergence Festival in Dublin and was featured on the cover of Ireland’s Life magazine as a forerunner of the ‘global sustainability’ community. Pavitra received her degree from the New York Film Academy in 2006 and is now a known alumnus of the academy. Her thesis at the New York Film Academy ‘Anamika – Her Glorious Past’ was selected for the Sixth IAAC Film Festival, 2006 in New York and the Indian Film Festival, Los Angeles in 2007. Anamika is a film on the Devadasi tradition.
Pavitra received the Ability Media International (AMI)Award in London 2010 for Khushboo, a film about children with complex needs. In 2012 Pavitra directed ‘Indelible’, the story of seven people with Down syndrome living in India. She was awarded the Asia-Pacific Award for ‘Outstanding Documentary Talent’ at the DocWeek film festival in Adelaide for Indelible in 2014. She was also honored by the Government of India as one of 25 women achievers/ambassadors for social change.

In January 2019, Women In Film [Los Angeles] announced the recipients of their 33rd annual Film Finishing Fund. Pavitra
Chalam received the grant for Rooting for Roona. As the recipient of the Stella Artois grant it is the only film from India among that year’s grantees. Pavitra was invited to attend the Sundance Film Festival in January 2019 to receive the grant and attend sponsorship events, media interviews and meet with producers and distributors. Past recipients of the Fund have gone on to win Academy, Emmy, Sundance, Berlin Film Festival and Peabody Awards. The Stella Artois grant supports female filmmakers who are using the power of film to impact change. 

Pavitra and her co-director Akshay were flown to Sundance from the 24th to the 28th of January 2019 to receive the grant and attend sponsorship events, media interviews and meet with producers and distributors. The film had its World Premiere at IDSFFK and was awarded the Audience Award for Best Short Film at the South Asian Film Festival of Orlando. Rooting for Roona was acquired by Netflix and was released worldwide on Netflix on October 15th, 2020. It is now available on the platform in 190 countries and in a wide variety of

Pavitra also founded The Mums Word, which is a first of its kind Instagram platform for and by mothers In India. The aim is to
create an insightful and empathetic platform for women to be candid about the mess, vulnerability, pain and small wins of motherhood. It is one of the leading platforms in the country on Motherhood.

For the past two years, Pavitra and Curley Street have been conducting research and are now in pre-production for a film that explores the lives of orphaned and abandoned children, as well as the story of the many faces of love in the world of
adoption in India.


CEO | director

Akshay Shankar is a filmmaker and the CEO of Curley Street. The former investment banker is now a director, producer and writer. He made his directorial debut in 2014 with Two Feet To Fly, India’s first documentary film on marathon running. In 2017, he co-directed and produced the multi-award winning campaign #HowWillWeRespond – a Bystander Intervention Film Campaign focused on women’s safety in India.

In 2019, Akshay was the director of the India unit for the celebrated Netflix documentary ‘Spelling the Dream’.

In 2020, he co-directed Rooting for Roona. He also produced and directed the grassroots video campaign on maternal health to empower frontline health workers in India.

Executive director

Rishi embodies an exceptional blend of knowledge and ambition, holding an MBBS degree from St. John’s Medical College, Bangalore, and an MBA from IIM – Ahmedabad. With over two decades of experience, he’s made significant contributions at prominent companies like McKinsey, Sunedison, and Findem.

Beyond his corporate journey, Rishi is a dynamic figure in the internet tech sector, successfully having joined forces with Lusha, an influential Israeli startup. He’s also a strategic Investor and influential Board Member at CurleyStreet Media, while lending his expertise to the Advisory Board of Camomile Healthcare, a boutique healthcare consultancy. Rishi’s story showcases the boundless potential of ambition, vision, and unwavering dedication.

Executive director

Ashwin Chalam, an entrepreneurial dynamo, kickstarted his career as the Executive Director at Goldman Sachs. Transitioning to startups, he spearheaded AI-driven data analytics and employee well-being. His startups have become veritable sensations, earning the coveted nod from Techstars and a place among Money20/20’s top 100 most promising U.S. startups. His startups boast Fortune 500 partnerships and, as a thought leader, his insights grace Entrepreneur.com.

He’s a fierce advocate for ethical business conduct, lending his voice to discussions on AI and finance’s evolving horizons. His unique talent for weaving together the threads of diverse domains positions him as a high-stakes powerhouse, ready for any challenge.

Director | producer

Tejesh Kiran, a versatile filmmaker with over fifteen years of experience, commenced his filmmaking journey as an Assistant Director in 2007 with the National Award-winning film “Gulabi Talkies.” He swiftly transitioned to documentary filmmaking, corporate films, and advertising, even venturing into screenplay writing for “Niruttara” (2016). His trajectory, from Assistant Director to screenwriter – and from creative producer to filmmaker, is a testament to his multifaceted talents and unwavering dedication to cinema.

In the past two years, Tejesh has dedicated himself to full-time directing, leaving his mark with remarkable projects like the “Modern Home Series” for St. Gobain and five captivating ad campaigns for Pai International Electronics. This year, Tejesh has directed Pai International’s captivating campaigns for summer, monsoon, and Independence Day. Presently, he is crafting their upcoming Dussehra and Diwali campaigns. He aspires to craft exceptional films defined by unparalleled quality.

Film Editor

Behind the editing desk, Jyolsna Panicker’s work transcends the ordinary and elevates visual storytelling to an art form. She is a video editor who began her journey in the corporate filmmaking space, gathering five years of experience in the world of ad filmmaking. Upon joining Curley Street in 2011, she wove magic into the very fabric of heartfelt non-fiction films and documentaries. She was the main editor on Curley Street’s award-winning film Rooting for Roona as well as campaigns like #HowWillWeRespond.

Jyolsna’s passion for video editing is an extension of her love for music. With an ear finely tuned to rhythm and harmony, she brings a unique perspective to her craft. It is this innate sense of musicality that enables her to create stunning edits which possess a captivating and seamless flow.

Currently, Jyolsna is a freelance editor working with renowned brands like Suzuki, Bharat Benz, Van Heusen, Redmi, Peter England and more.

director of photography

Arun Chalil is an award-winning cinematographer whose remarkable journey in the world of filmmaking sprouted from his love for Malayalam cinema and its unique form.

His career began with Thalappavu – a Malayalam film in which he worked as an Associate Cinematographer. He has worked with Enforces and headed Infy TV- the world’s first corporate TV channel- through which he immersed himself in the corporate world for over five years. He has shot alongside the likes of distinguished filmmakers Amal Nirad and Anwar Rasheed. He also has two of his own feature films under his belt – ‘Oh Baby’ and ‘Kallan D’Souza’.

Whether you wish to have an intriguing conversation on world philosophy, or dive into his new and upcoming projects, Arun is your go-to-guy.

Creative producer

Rithvika wears her heart out on her sleeve. Her dedication to the craft, the stories she believes in, and her drive to always deliver her best marks her as an invaluable member of the team. She is a master at handling production – and ensures all the boxes are ticked before heading to even the busiest of shoots! Brimming with ideas, Rithvika’s creativity comes to life on paper as she pens down the most exciting and engaging scripts. Some of her most notable work includes films made in collaboration with Flipkart, Meta, Ola, and Shell.

Come weekends, you can find her shooting some hoops at the local basketball court – or spending time with her cherished canine companions – Chop, Bheema, and Kaveri.

Creative producer

Delvin Varghese is a seasoned Video Editor among his many other hats. Every time you think he has done a great job – he pulls another trick down his sleeve – outdoing himself! He has worked on films with renowned brands such as Flipkart, Meta, Shell, and Ola. A wiz at motion graphics and colour grading, Delvin is always seen with his thinking hat. He strives to expand his skillset every step of the way as he ensures he always puts his best foot forward.

And – his commitment doesn’t stop there. You can catch him casually completing his 8 km-long runs every morning before touching down at the studio.

Creative producer

When the world seems to be crumbling, and there’s a ticking clock, count on Anmolika to get the job done. A true artistic powerhouse with an eye for colours and visual aesthetics, she effortlessly navigates the realms of art production, design, and production management.

Anmolika’s heart lies in mixed media, her proudest work being a stop-motion claymation film: ‘Voicenote to my Mother’ in which she was the Art Director. One of her most recent works – ‘Aalapanam’, in which she directed art, was screened at the Bangalore Queer Film Festival’s 2023 edition.

With her on our team as the creative producer, creativity knows no limits, and excellence is the only standard.