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Mira Nair

Birthdate: 1957/10/15
born in: Bhubaneshwar, Orissa, India

The highly acclaimed director from India, Mira Nair leapt into the world's spotlight with her film Salaam, Bombay! This film is considered by many to be her best work although she may be better known for the controversial subject matter of her latest film Kama Sutra: A tale of Love.

Mira Nair was born in Bhubaneshwar, Orissa to a civil servant in 1957. She went on to attend the University of New Delhi where she studied Sociology and Theater. Dissatisfied with the quality of the education, she applied elsewhere. As result she came to Harvard in 1976 on full scholarship to continue studying Sociology. While at Harvard her focus drifted to documentary film. She describes documentary as "a marriage of my interests in the visual arts, theatre, and life as it is lived".

Mira's first film was Jama Masjid Street Journal which was also her Master's thesis project. This film explores the life of a traditional Muslim community from the Western perspective. Her most acclaimed documentary was India Cabaret. Ultimately, the standards of objectivity and non interference inherent in documentary film proved to be a trying constraint. She told the West Side Spirit writer, "While I was working in documentary I was impatient sometimes, many times, with waiting for something to happen and not having it happen like I hoped it would." She goes on to say that she wanted "a lot more control over gesture and drama and faces" in her work.

As result she tried her hand at fictional narrative. Her greatest recognition came with her first feature film Salaam, Bombay! She was awarded the Best New Director at the Cannes Film Festival as well as a nomination for best foreign film at the Academy Awards.

Nair lives near Columbia University in New York City where she is an adjunct professor in the Film Division of the School of Arts, and where her husband, Professor Mahmood Mamdani, also teaches. Nair and her husband first met in 1988, when she went to Uganda for the first time to research for the film Mississippi Masala. 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. Nair has one son, Zohran Mamdani, born in 1991, currently attending The Bronx High School of Science.


Salaam Bombay! (1988)
Mississippi Masala (1991)
The Perez Family (1995)
Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love (1996)
My Own Country (1998) (Showtime TV)
Monsoon Wedding (2001)
Hysterical Blindness (2002)
11'9"01 September 11 (Segment - "India") (2002)
Vanity Fair (2004)
The Namesake (2006)
Migration (2007)
New York, I Love You (Segment - "Kosher Vegetarian") (2008)
8 (Segment - "How can it be?") (2008)
Amelia (2009)

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