Born On: 15th October, 1957
Born In: Bhubaneswar in Orissa
Career: Film Director and Producer
Skilled film director and producer, Mira Nair is recognized for her films; not only in India but around the world. Although most of her works are documentaries, they never fail to attract local and international audiences. Her critically acclaimed movie, 'Salaam Bombay!' is treated as one of her best works. Mira also made it big with the controversial movie, 'Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love'. Most of her films consist of a unique vision towards the concept and influence of the Indian society. With more than five award winning works, she has earned herself a reputable name in the industry. Apart from film awards, Mira has been conferred with prestigious awards for her services. She was given the 'Indian Abroad Person Award' for 2007 by Indra Nooyi, the chairperson of PepsiCo. Get an idea about her early life, achievements and success story in the sections given below.
Mira Nair was born on 15th October, 1957 in Bhubaneswar situated in Orissa. Coming from a Punjabi family, her father was a civil servant and her mother was a social worker. She was the youngest among her three siblings. Mira completed her early education from a boarding school, Loreto Convent Tara Hall in Shimla. Further, she went to Miranda House, Delhi University to study sociology and theater. It was during this time that she got involved with political street theater and performed in a number of plays.
In 1976, Mira Nair went to the US to study sociology at Harvard University. Here, she met her first husband, Mitch Epstein, a photographer. After the failure of this marriage, Mira got involved with Mahmood Mamdani, a professor at the Columbia University in 1988. Together they had a son named Zohran.
After many years, she showed interest in film making and drifted towards making and producing documentaries.
Mira currently lives in New York City near Columbia University, where she serves as an adjunct professor in the Film Division of the School of Arts. Apart from her interest in teaching and films, she takes yoga lessons.
Mira Nair began her career as an artist in small-scale films. However, with time she showed interest in direction and made number of documentaries for television. Her first film, 'Jama Masjid Street' (1979) describes the life of Muslims in Old Delhi. Her other noted film, 'India Cabaret' (1985) revolves around the lives of Mumbai nightclubs. 'Salaam Bombay!' (1988) is a critically acclaimed movie that won numerous awards in international film festivals. With the screenplay done by Mira's favorite writer, Sooni Taraporevala, this movie also became a successful crowd puller.
In 1991, Mira Nair again came into the limelight with her film, 'Mississippi Masala' starring Denzel Washington and Sarita Choudhury. This movie tells the story of Ugandan-Indians living in Mississippi.
'The Perez Family' was released in 1995. The film starred Alfred Molina, Marisa Tomei and Angelica Huston. She also directed a movie called 'Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love Story', which narrates the story of love life in India in the 16th century.
Her movie 'Monsoon Wedding' in 2001 was a major success. This movie brought her several prestigious awards. In 2006, she made 'Namesake' and this received a positive response from film critics. Mira Nair is presently working on making the adaptation of the novel, Shantaram.
Awards and Accolades
In 1985, Mira's film, 'India Cabaret', received 'Best Documentary Prize' at the American Film Festival and Global Village Film Festival. Three years later, the movie 'Salaam Bombay!' earned her a Golden Camera Award at the Cannes Film Festival.
Then, in 1992, 'Mississippi' Masala won her Best Director Award in the Foreign Language category. Finally, in 2001, Mira was honored with the Golden Lion Award at the Venice Film Festival for her work in 'Monsoon Wedding.'
1957: Mira was born into a Punjabi family in Orissa on the 15th of October.
1976: She married Mitch Epstein, her first husband.
1979: Her first film, 'Jama Masjid Street' was released.
1985: Won best documentary film at the Global Village Film Festival for 'India Cabaret'.
1988: The Audience Award at the Cannes Film Festival for her work, 'Salaam Bombay!' was given to her. She also met her second husband, Prof. Mahmood Mamdani.
1989: She established her production house, Mirabai Films and also, got nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film for the movie, 'Salaam Bombay!'
1991: Mira won the Golden Osella for Best Original Screenplay at the Venice Film Festival for 'Mississippi Masala'.
1992: Honoured with Best Director by the Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists, for 'Mississippi Masala'.
2001: Recipient of the Golden Lion (Best Film) at the Venice Film Festival for the film, 'Monsoon Wedding'.
2006: Received international acclaim for the movie, 'Namesake'.