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Mira Nair

Mira Nair

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Also Known As: Died:
Born: October 15, 1957 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Rourkela, Orissa, IN Profession: director, producer

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Indian born director Mira Nair began to earn critical buzz for her early documentary films, but with her feature debut "Salaam Bombay" (1988), she was catapulted into the international spotlight with Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations. Throughout Nair's career she made films both in the United States and in India, earning independent and film festival notoriety for the colorful family ensemble "Monsoon Wedding" (2001) and the considerably grittier "Namesake" (2006), while finding success among mainstream audiences with the interracial romantic drama "Mississippi Masala" (1992), starring Denzel Washington. The common thread throughout Nair's filmmaking career was a fascination with people on the margins of society, culminating in their struggle to both conform as well as maintain their cultural identity; a struggle that the director, herself, could no doubt relate to.

Indian born director Mira Nair began to earn critical buzz for her early documentary films, but with her feature debut "Salaam Bombay" (1988), she was catapulted into the international spotlight with Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations. Throughout Nair's career she made films both in the United States and in India, earning independent and film festival notoriety for the colorful family ensemble "Monsoon Wedding" (2001) and the considerably grittier "Namesake" (2006), while finding success among mainstream audiences with the interracial romantic drama "Mississippi Masala" (1992), starring Denzel Washington. The common thread throughout Nair's filmmaking career was a fascination with people on the margins of society, culminating in their struggle to both conform as well as maintain their cultural identity; a struggle that the director, herself, could no doubt relate to.

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
  Amelia (2009)
3.
4.
  Vanity Fair (2004) Director
5.
  Hysterical Blindness (2002) Director
6.
  September 11 (2002) Director (Episode 9)
7.
  Monsoon Wedding (2001) Director
8.
9.
  My Own Country (1998) Director
10.
  Kama Sutra (1996) Director

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 My Own Country (1998) Saryu Joshi
2.
 Mississippi Masala (1991) 1st Gossip
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Became involved in political street theater and performed for three years in an amateur drama company in Delhi
1976:
Offered scholarship by Cambridge University; turned it down in favor of Harvard
1979:
Made first film, "Jama Masjid/Street Journal," as student thesis at Harvard
1988:
Directed first feature, "Salaam Bombay!"; screenplay by Sooni Taraporevala; nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film
1992:
Directed second feature film, "Mississippi Masala," starring Denzel Washington and Sarita Choudhury, and profiled a family of displaced Ugandan-Indians living and working in Mississippi; screenplay by Sooni Taraporevala
1995:
Directed "The Perez Family," featuring Anjelica Huston and Alfred Molina in a film about a group of Cuban refugees in America
1997:
Directed the controversial feature, "Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love," starring Sarita Choudhury and Naveen Andrews
1998:
Directed "My Own Country" for Showtime; was adapted from the memoir by Abraham Verghese by Sooni Taraporevala
1999:
Produced and co-directed (with Adam Bartos) the documentary, "The Laughing Club of India"
2001:
Directed her most successful feature to date, "Monsoon Wedding," about a chaotic Punjabi Indian wedding
2002:
Directed "Hysterical Blindness" for HBO; starred Uma Thurman, Juliette Lewis, Gena Rowlands and Ben Gazzara
2002:
Joined a group of 11 renowned filmmakers, each commissioned to direct a film that was 11 minutes, 9 seconds and one frame long; Nair film was a re-telling of real events in the life of the Hamdani family in Queens, whose eldest son was missing after September 11, and was then accused by the media of being a terrorist
2004:
Directed an adaptation of Thackeray's novel, "Vanity Fair," starring Reese Witherspoon
2006:
Helmed the adaptation of "The Namesake," Jhumpa Lahiri best-selling novel about the struggles between two first generation Bengali immigrants in the US
2008:
Directed a short film in "New York, I Love You," a romantic-drama anthology of love stories set in New York
2009:
Directed the biographical film based on the life of Amelia Earhart, starring Hilary Swank as "Amelia"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Delhi University: -
Loreto Convent Tara Hall: -
Harvard University: Cambridge , Massachusetts - 1979

Notes

"If I were to find a common thread in my work, I would have to admit that I have always been drawn to stories of people who live on the margins of society, on the edge, or outside, learning the language of being in-between, always dealing with the question: what, and where, is home? These concerns are, of course, inextricably linked with my personal history as well, since I have spent most of the past 12 years living between two worlds."---Mira Nair (quoted in public relations material for "Mississippi Masala" 1991)

Nair's documentaries include "Jama Masjid Street Journal" (1979); "So Far From India" (1982), the story of a subway newsstand worker in Manhattan and his pregnant who awaits his return in India; and "India Cabaret" (1985).

Teaches at Columbia University

"When I have passion for something," she says, "I'm a weirdly kind of fearless person."---Mira Nair quoted in Time, September 06, 2004.

Companions close complete companion listing

husband:
Mitch Epstein. Producer, production designer, photographer. Divorced; met at Harvard; frequently collaborated with Nair.
husband:
Mahmood Mamdani. Professor of Anthropology at Columbia University.

Family close complete family listing

son:
Zohran Mamdani. Born in October 1991; father, Mahmood Mamdani .
sister:
Vicky Nair.

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