Mira Nair
Biography & Resources


Accomplished Film Director/Writer/Producer Mira Nair was born in Bhubaneswar, India in 1957. Educated at both Delhi University and Harvard University, Nair began her artistic career as an actor before turning her attention to film. She found incipient success as a documentary filmmaker, winning awards for So Far From India and India Cabaret. In 1988, Nair's debut feature, Salaam Bombay!, was nominated for an Academy Award, Golden Globe, and BAFTA Award for Best Foreign Language Film. It also won the Camera D'Or (for best first feature) and the Prix du Publique (for most popular entry) at the Cannes Film Festival as well as 25 other international awards.

Nair's next film, Mississippi Masala, an interracial love story set in the American South and Uganda, starring Denzel Washington and Sarita Choudhury, won three awards at the Venice Film Festival including Best Screenplay and The Audience Choice Award. Subsequent films include The Perez Family, Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love, My Own Country, and Hysterical Blindness. Nair's documentary The Laughing Club of India was awarded The Special Jury Prize in the Festival International de Programmes Audiovisuels 2000. Monsoon Wedding opened to tremendous critical acclaim and commercial success and went on to win the Golden Lion at the 2001 Venice Film Festival and receive Golden Globe and BAFTA nominations for Best Foreign Language Film. In 2003, Nair produced “Still the Children Are Here,” and directed the Focus Features production of the William Thackeray classic, Vanity Fair.

Following the tragic events of September 11, 2020, Nair joined a group of 11 renowned filmmakers, each commissioned to direct a film that was 11 minutes, 9 seconds and one frame long. Nair's film is a retelling of real events in the life of the Hamdani family in Queens, whose eldest son was missing after September 11, and was then accused by the media of being a terrorist. 11.09.01 is the true story of a mother's search for her son who did not return home on that fateful day.

Nair was appointed as the mentor in film by the prestigious Rolex Protégé Arts Initiative, joining fellow mentors Jessye Norman, Sir Peter Hall, David Hockney, Mario Vargas Llosa, and Saburo Teshigawara to help guide young artists in critical stages of their development.

Nair is slated to produce and direct several projects in the next year, including Jhumpa Lahiri's The Namesake and a Hollywood remake of the Bollywood blockbuster, Munnabhai, MBBS. In addition, Mirabai Films has established an annual filmmaker's laboratory, Maisha, which is dedicated to the support of visionary screenwriters and directors in East Africa and South Asia. The first lab, which will focus on screenwriting, was launched in August 2005 in Kampala, Uganda.

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Two Filmmakers
(with Randy Olson)