|Died||1 October 2010
New Delhi, India
|Occupation||film director, screenwriter|
Pamela Rooks (1958 – 1 October 2010) was an Indian film director and screenwriter, most known for the film, Train to Pakistan (1998) set in Partition of India and based on Khushwant Singh's novel, it was screened at several international film festivals. Apart from it she also made award-winning films like, Miss Beatty's Children (1992) and Dance Like a Man (2003) and several documentaries.
Born Pamela Juneja in an Army household, of Col A N Juneja and Gudi Juneja. She did her schooling in boarding schools in Nainital and Shimla, where she got interested in dramatics. Later while studying mass communication in Delhi in the 1970s, she was involved with Delhi-based theatre group, Theatre Action Group (TAG), which was founded by theatre director, Barry John and Siddharth Basu, Roshan Seth, Lilette Dubey, and Mira Nair amongst others.
She started her career as journalist, as started her career as a producer of current affairs programmes on television and it was during this period that she met director, Conrad Rooks who had received much acclaim for his film, Siddhartha (1972) for an interview, subsequently they went on to marry.
Later this paved way for her career as a documentary filmmaker and made critically acclaimed documentaries, such as Chipko: A response to the forest crisis, Girl Child: fighting for survival, Punjab: a human tragedy and Indian cinema: the winds of change, before making her first feature film, Miss Beatty's Children (1992), based on a novel of the same name by her. The film won her the Indira Gandhi Award for Best First Film of a Director at the National Film Award. Then in 1998 came her much anticipated film based on writer, Khushwant Singh historical novel, Train to Pakistan (1956), set in the Partition of India in 1947, while previous attempts by other people to turn the novel into film had failed. The film ran into trouble with Indian Censor Board, but was eventually released, after going to a tribunal, with few cuts, mostly audio.
Having seen playwright Mahesh Dattani's play Dance like a Man, a friend, the late dancer Protima Bedi, who has also worked in his first film, arranged a meeting with playwright in Bangalore. Subsequently bought the rights to the play and went on co-write the screenplay with him. Eventually next venture Dance like a Man was released in 2005. and won a National Film Award for Best Feature Film in English for 2003.
Accident and death
In November 2005, she received serious brain injury when a Maruti Alto lost control and collided with her Toyota Landcruiser, at Vasant Kunj in Delhi while she was returning from Indira Gandhi International Airport after a trip to Amsterdam. She was subsequently put in drug-induced coma. She never recovered from the coma and died of cardiac arrest at her Defense Colony home on early hours of 1 October 2010 at the age of 52.
She was married to director, Conrad Rooks and the couple had a son Ryan, before they divorced in 1985. Later she dated Richard Holkar, son of Holkar Maharaja of Indore, Shivaji Rao Holkar, whom she had first met in 1998 in her Defense Colony neighbourhood. In following years they grew close and decided to be life companions.
Together Pamela and Richard brought life back to Richards ancestral home Ahilya Fort in Maheshwar, and were the directors of Ahilya Hospitality and Travels Private Limited. Holkar was accompanying her during the 2005 car accident.
Richard Holkar joined the Indian Head Injury Foundation, founded in February 2007, by Gaj Singh, Maharaja of Jodhpur, whose son Shivraj Singh had received serious head injury, due to accident on the polo grounds in Jaipur in February 2005.
|1992||Miss Beatty's Children||Director/Writer||National Film Award – Indira Gandhi Award for Best First Film of a Director|
|1998||Train to Pakistan||Director/Writer/Producer||Nominated – Best Film, Cinequest Film Festival|
|2003||Dance Like a Man||Director||National Film Award for Best Feature Film in English|
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