Sonali Kothari, The Director

Sonali, the woman behind 99 Women -Pune, is an explorer, always in pursuit of her next challenge. Being a perfectionist, she is never done, till it is done.

She is the founder director of Innishari, a start-up focused on community workshops and community messaging. She has been training students, teachers and corporates on creative thinking and conflict resolution. Other feathers in her hat include being a brand strategist and domain expert in a digital publishing company. She lives in Pune with her husband and a fifteen year old son.

How did you hear about this project?

I heard about this project from my friend Genevieve Flaven– who is also the author of 99 WOMEN.    Always having loved theatre, I grabbed the first opportunity of presenting 99 WOMEN in Pune when she expressed her desire to bring it to India. Being deeply drawn to the idea, I believe it to be both empowering and liberating a journey for all those involved.

What convinced you to participate?

I was hooked on to the sheer grandness of the idea of bringing together 99 ordinary women on one stage to portray ‘how to be a woman’. The biggest puller was the creative challenge to portray 99 simple expressions to create an extraordinary experience – for the actor as well as the audience.

How do you see the women in Pune?

The history of Pune presents some amazing facets of being a woman. First is ‘MAULI’- the mother, as Sant Dnyaneshwar (a 14th century local saint from the Bhakti movement) is fondly called. It is probably a first in the world that a community looks upon a male saint as ‘a caring mother’. So many houses in Pune are called ‘matruchhaya’ (‘in the shadow of the mother’). So many vehicles in Pune have a sticker behind them with ‘Aai baba chi punyai’ (Good karma of my mother and father). ‘Mother’ is a strong metaphor for being a woman in Pune.

On the other hand, one sees women leaders from Pune like Lila Poonawala and Anu Aga taking on several inspiring leadership roles in industrial, social and national levels.

Women in Pune, I find, are courageous, hard working, confident, caring and serenely beautiful.

Contact Sonali at

One Comment

  1. Hi. Read about 99 women in yesterday’s Pune mirror. Was truly fascinated by the idea. I’m 51 and have always wanted to act on stage. If ever an opportunity comes my way It would mean the world to me. I was a teacher and taught at the pre school level for 15 years. I now assist my husband with his business. Do get in touch with me if something comes up again.
    Sanober Dalal
    Cell :- 9860795539

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