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Mahmood Mamdani

Another Great Accolade for Mira Nair

Mahmood Mamdani 42%

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Mira Nair: An Indian film maker, recipient of the Padma Bhushan.Mira Nair, an Indian- American film maker, lives in New York City and heads her film production company, Mirabai Films. She teaches in the film division of the Columbia School of Arts as an adjunct professor. Mira Nair is Malayali and Punjabi, born in Bhubaneshwar, Orissa on Oct 15, 1957. Her father was a civil servant and her mother, a social worker. Born in a middle class family, Nair is the youngest of three children.


She went to boarding school in Shimla, to Loreto Convent Tara Hall. She studied at Miranda House in Delhi, specializing in Sociology. At this time she got involved with an amateur drama company, and performed political street theater with them for three years. When she was 19, in 1976, she left India and moved to the US, with a scholarship in Harvard University, where she continued to study Sociology. At Harvard, she met two important people: her first husband, Mitch Epstein, a photographer and her screenwriter, Sooni Taraporevala, with whom she would collaborate often, in the years to come.


Nair started off her film career making documentaries. Her first, submitted for a student thesis at Harvard, Jama Masjid Street Journal (1979), tells the story of a journey through the streets of a traditional Muslim community in Old Delhi. Later broadcast on public television in USA and India, the film won many awards. So Far From India (1983) explored the clash of the American immigrant and Indian cultural value systems. India Cabaret (1985), about the lives of cabaret dancers in a sleazy Bombay night club, won the Blue Ribbon Award at the American Film Festival. Children of a Desired Sex (1987) explored in depth, the patriarchal system of female feticide, aided by Amniocentesis, a sex determination medical process performed on pregnant women. Being a Sociology student seems to have made Nair a. socio-centric film maker with social issues being the focus of her early films.


By Sowmya Nandakumar


Read more: Indo American News (May 24, 2012) 

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