Illeana Citaristi

Padma Shri awardee Illeana Citaristi has been known as a perfect blend of “East and West”, who started her journey from Italy to India to pursue her dreams in the world of Kathakali, a traditional Malayali dance form. Having risen from the world’s Renaissance capital, she didn’t hesitate to break barriers like caste, creed, culture & ethnicity. As a true artist by heart, she kept on adopting new variations and skills and headed to the Eastern hidden gem, the state of Odisha which beautifully complements her passion towards art, tradition, and rich historical culture.

Her amalgamation of ideas and concepts into the field of art, her enthusiasm to work in the film industry and also to author publications speak volumes of her varied talent. She was awarded the National Film Award in 1995 for the film ‘Yugant’. Being the first foreign national to adopt such traditions, she was awarded the highest civilian award and also became a member of the Order of the Star of the Italian Solidarity.


Italian by Birth, & Odia by heart, Illeana Citaristi has been a TEDx speaker multiple times in the past. Her achievements and awards are innumerable, leaving astounding marks on pages of Indian art & culture.