Sooni Taraporevala

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Sooni Taraporevala
Sooni Taraporevala image
Sooni Taraporevala in 2010
Born 1957 (age 58–59)
Nationality India
Occupation screenwriter, film director, photographer
Years active 1988–present

Sooni Taraporevala (born 1957) is an Indian screenwriter and photographer who is best known as the screenwriter of Mississippi Masala, The Namesake and Oscar-nominated Salaam Bombay (1988), all directed by Mira Nair.[1]

She directed her first feature film, based on a screenplay of her own, an ensemble piece set in Bombay, in Spring, 2007, entitled "Little Zizou.".[2][3]

She was awarded the Padma Shri by Government of India in 2014.[4]

Early life and education[edit]

She took a filmmaking course under Alfred Guzzetti,[5] and met Nair as an undergraduate, leading to their longtime creative collaboration. Next she joined the Cinema Studies Department at New York University, and after receiving her MA in Film Theory and Criticism, in 1981, she returned to India to work as a freelance still photographer.[6][7][8]



Collaboration with Mira Nair[edit]

Ms. Taraporevala wrote the screenplays for Salaam Bombay and Mississippi Masala, both directed by Mira Nair. Interestingly, the final drafts of both these films were written in Brooklyn, NY.[citation needed] Other projects with Nair include the screenplay for My Own Country, based on the book by Abraham Verghese as well as the cinematic adaptation of Pulitzer Prize–winning writer Jhumpa Lahiri's novel, The Namesake. The film, The Namesake, was released in 2006.[4]

Other Work[edit]

Her other produced credits include the film Such a Long Journey based on the novel Such a Long Journey by Rohinton Mistry and directed by Sturla Gunnarson. Finally, she wrote the screenplay for the film Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar, directed by Dr. Jabbar Patel for the Government of India and the National Film Development Corporation of India (NFDC).[citation needed]


In 1982, during a break from college, she met photographer Raghubir Singh, who after looking at her work, which included photographs of her extended Parsi family, suggested she work on a book on Parsi community. This in turn started her extensive work of photo documentation of the Parsi community.[5] Her photographs have been exhibited in India, the US, France and Britain, including London's Tate Modern gallery.[citation needed]

In Fall 2004, she released a coffee table photography book, a first-ever visual work on India's Parsi Zoroastrian community, entitled Parsis: the Zoroastrians of India – A Photographic Journey (Overlook Press, ISBN 1-58567-593-8). A 24-year labour of love, the book offers rare photos, as well as historical and personal essays on the Zoroastrian religion and Parsi social history.[9][10]

Taraporevala had previously self-published the book in India in 2000, where it sold out in just a few months. The book received glowing advance praise from film director Mira Nair, Harvard literature professor and noted post-colonial theorist Homi K. Bhabha, acclaimed writers Rohinton Mistry and Bapsi Sidhwa and conductor Zubin Mehta.[citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

After living in 18 years in America, she returned to India in 1993.[11] She is married to Firdaus Bativala, a dental surgeon and lives in Mumbai, along with their two children, Jahan and Iyanah, both of whom had leading roles in her film, Little Zizou (2009).[12][13]




  1. ^ Viets, Alexandra (12 October 1994). "From Hollywood Back to Bombay". New York Times. 
  2. ^ "The Serious Laugh Junkie". Tehelka. 7 March 2009. 
  3. ^ "Little Zizou, an insider's view to Parsi community". CNN-IBN. 27 February 2009. 
  4. ^ a b Das, Soma (16 October 2015). "‘Life’s all about taking risks’ : Filmmaker-author Sooni Taraporevala". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 19 October 2015. 
  5. ^ a b Tree A. Palmedo (30 October 2012). "Portrait of an Artist: Sooni Taraporevala". The Harvard Crimson. Retrieved 5 March 2013. 
  6. ^ Biography
  7. ^ "'I was called a rudderless ship'". Tehelka. 16 October 2004. 
  8. ^ Sooni was everywhere, doing everything!, 6 April 2001.
  9. ^ "Good Dees". Orlando Weekly. 11 April 2004. 
  10. ^ Parsis:A Photographic Journey, Official website
  11. ^ Craig Lambert (March–April 2007). "Godmothers of The Namesake". Harvard Magazine. Retrieved 5 March 2013. 
  12. ^ "Small wonders: Sooni Taraporevala’s kids debut with Little Zizou". Indian Express. 28 February 2009. 
  13. ^ "All in the family". Mint. 5 March 2009. 
  14. ^ Mississippi Masala – Awards Internet Movie Database.
  15. ^ "Padma Awards Announced". Press Information Bureau, Ministry of Home Affairs. 25 January 2014. Retrieved 26 January 2014. 

External links[edit]