Mira Nair

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Mira Nair
Mira Nair.jpg
Nair at the 2008 IIFW Masterclass Directors Meet
Born (1957-10-15) 15 October 1957 (age 57)
Rourkela, Odisha, India
Residence New York City, New York, U.S.
Occupation Film director, film producer
Years active 1986–present
Spouse(s) Mitch Epstein (divorced)
Mahmood Mamdani (1988–present)

Mira Nair (born 15 October 1957) is an Indian film director, actress and producer based in New York.[1] Her production company is Mirabai Films.

She was educated at Miranda House of Delhi University and then at Harvard University.[2] Her debut feature film, Salaam Bombay! (1988), won the Golden Camera award at the Cannes Film Festival and was a nominee for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. She used the proceeds of the film to establish an organisation for street children, called the Salaam Baalak Trust in India.[3]

She has won a number of awards, including a National Film Award and various international film festival awards, and was a nominee at the Academy Awards, Golden Globes, BAFTA Awards and Filmfare Awards. She was also awarded the India Abroad Person of the Year-2007.[4] In 2012 she was awarded India's third highest civilian award the Padma Bhushan by President of India, Pratibha Patil.[5]

Her most recent films include Vanity Fair with Reese Witherspoon, The Namesake and Amelia.[6]


In 2001 she released Monsoon Wedding (2001), a film about a chaotic Punjabi Indian wedding, with a screenplay by Sabrina Dhawan. It was awarded the Golden Lion award at the Venice Film Festival, making Nair the first female recipient of the award.[7] After the success of Monsoon Wedding, Nair collaborated with writer Julian Fellowes on her 2004 adaptation of Thackeray's novel Vanity Fair, starring Reese Witherspoon. The same year she also founded Maisha Film Lab to help East Africans and South Asians learn to make films.[8] Maisha is headquartered in Nair's adopted home of Kampala, Uganda. Later that year she rejected an offer to direct Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix saying, "... I would prefer someone else make it. I am better suited to emotions, human beings, and less interested in special effects.".[9]

Her next film, The Namesake, premiered in fall 2006 at Dartmouth College, where Nair was presented with the Dartmouth Film Award. Another premiere was held in fall 2006 with the Indo-American Arts Council in New York.[10] The Namesake, adapted by Sooni Taraporevala from the novel by Pulitzer Prize–winner Jhumpa Lahiri, was released in March 2007 and the same year she was honoured with the Pride of India award at the 9th Bollywood Movie Awards for her contributions to the film industry.[11][12]

She directed a short film in New York, I Love You, a romantic-drama anthology of love stories set in New York and a 12-minute movie on AIDS awareness (funded by The Gates Foundation) called Migration.[13][14]

Her biographical film Amelia was released in October 2009 to predominantly negative reviews.[15][16]

For several years, Nair was attached to a big-budget adaptation of the novel Shantaram, but the production was shelved in 2009. Nair has also purchased the rights to Mohsin Hamid's 2007 novel The Reluctant Fundamentalist.[17]

Mira Nair has recently roped in Govinda to play the lead in her upcoming film "The Bengali Detective". Earlier there was speculation that Shahrukh Khan will be part of this film. But Mira has confirmed that Govinda is going to be part of this film. She said in an interview with Times Of India Kolkata on 21 December 2013 that there was none better than Govinda to play the role.[18]

Personal life[edit]

Mira Nair was born on 15 October 1957 in Rourkela, Odisha.[19] Nair lives in New York City near Columbia University, where she is an adjunct professor in the Film Division of the School of Arts, and where her second husband, Professor Mahmood Mamdani, also teaches.[20][21] Nair and her husband first met in 1988, when she went to Uganda for the first time to research for the film Mississippi Masala.[22] She was earlier married to photographer Mitch Epstein. Nair has been an enthusiastic yoga practitioner for decades; when making a film, she has the cast and crew start the day with a yoga session.[23] Nair and Mamdani have one son named Zohran.[24]

In July 2013, Nair declined an invitation to the Haifa International Film Festival as a "guest of honor" to protest Israel's policies toward Palestine. In postings on her Twitter account, Nair stated "I will go to Israel when the walls come down. I will go to Israel when occupation is gone...I will go to Israel when the state does not privilege one religion over another. I will go to Israel when Apartheid is over. I will go to Israel, soon. I stand w/ Palestine for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) & the larger Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) Mov’t." Nair was subsequently praised by PACBI, which stated that her decision to boycott Israel "helps to highlight the struggle against colonialism and apartheid." She subsequently tweeted "I will go to Israel, soon."[25][26][27][28][29][30]



Wins[citation needed][edit]

Nominations[citation needed][edit]

Further reading[edit]


  1. ^ Spelling, Ian (1 September 2004). "Director likes to do her own thing". Waterloo Region Record. pp. C4. 
  2. ^ "Mira Nair - Biography". The New York Times. Retrieved 27 May 2014. 
  3. ^ Crossette, Barabara (23 December 1990). "Homeless and Hungry Youths of India". The New York Times. Retrieved 13 October 2008. 
  4. ^ Mira Nair is India Abroad Person of the Year 2007 News, Rediff.com, 29 March 2008.
  5. ^ Mira Nair Gets Padma Bhushan News, Reuters, 25 January 2012.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Mira Nair's works to be screened at IFFI 2010". NDTV. Press Trust of India. 25 November 2010. Retrieved 28 June 2011. 
  7. ^ Anna Whitney (10 September 2001). "Indian director is first woman to win Golden Lion". The Independent (London). Retrieved 8 December 2009. 
  8. ^ Maisha Film Lab
  9. ^ Borpujari, Utpal (1 December 2004). "Mira Nair rejected Harry Potter offer". Deccan Herald. DH News Service. Retrieved 28 June 2011. 
  10. ^ Sreenivasan, TP (3 November 2006). "The Namesake is excellent". Rediff. Retrieved 28 June 2011. 
  11. ^ Bollywood to honour Mira Nair with 'Pride of India' award Hindustan Times, 23 April 2007.
  12. ^ "Mira Nair, Asha Parekh honoured at Bollywood awards in New York". Malaysia Sun. 28 May 2007. Retrieved 8 December 2009. 
  13. ^ Mira Nair’s latest film project takes the message to Indian cinema halls
  14. ^ "Migration". Jaman. Retrieved 13 October 2008. 
  15. ^ " 'Amelia' (2009): Reviews." Metacritic.
  16. ^ " 'Amelia' Reviews, Pictures." Rotten Tomatoes, IGN Entertainment.
  17. ^ Debesh Bannerjee (8 December 2009). "Politeness can kill you in movies". Screen. Retrieved 8 December 2009. 
  18. ^ [=http://epaper.timesofindia.com/Default/Client.asp?skin=pastissues2&enter=LowLevel&AW=1388468427762 "Bengali Sleuth, Bollywood Style"]. 
  19. ^ 'Namesake a tribute to Ritwik Ghatak', says Mira Nair - Mira Nair interview The Indian Express, 22 May 2005.
  20. ^ Faculty Columbia University School of the Arts
  21. ^ Solomon, Deborah (29 August 2004). "All's Fair". The New York Times. Retrieved 27 March 2010. 
  22. ^ Namesake Interview News, Rediff.com, 21 March 2007.
  23. ^ Mira Nair interview with International Herald Tribune
  24. ^ Miller, Winter (18 March 2007). "Personal Sound Effects: A Night Out with Mira Nair". The New York Times. Retrieved 13 October 2008. 
  25. ^ Film director Mira Nair boycotting Haifa festival, Jewish Telegraphic Agency, 21 July 2013.
  26. ^ Mira Nair turns down invite to Israel film festival, The Times of India, 23 July 2013.
  27. ^ Mira Nair boycotts Haifa film festival by Harriet Sherwood, The Observer (reprinted in The Guardian), 21 July 2013.
  28. ^ Prominent filmmaker boycotts Haifa festival to protest Israeli 'apartheid' by Nirit Anderman, Haaretz, 21 July 2013.
  29. ^ Mira Nair boycotts Israel Film Festival in Palestine’s support, The Express Tribune, 20 July 2013.
  30. ^ Award-winning director boycotts Haifa Film Festival to protest 'Apartheid', The Jerusalem Post, 21 July 2013.
  31. ^ "Mira can't wait to start Shantaram". Rediff. 29 November 2007. Retrieved 28 June 2011. 
  32. ^ Vashi, Ashish (1 November 2009). "Hollywood says ILU to Gujarati". The Times of India. Retrieved 28 June 2011. 
  33. ^ "8 Official website". Retrieved 25 November 2010. 
  34. ^ Taraporevala, Sooni; Mira Nair (1989). Salaam Bombay!. Penguin Books. ISBN 0-14-012724-0. 
  35. ^ Sloan, Jane (2007). Reel women. Scarecrow Press. ISBN 0-8108-5738-3. 
  36. ^ "Padma Awards". pib. 27 January 2013. Retrieved 27 January 2013. 

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