Posts tagged mira nair
An avant-garde filmmaker, a multi-faceted woman, a maverick — these are few tags that come to mind when you think of Mira Nair. However, when you meet her in person, you realise that there’s more to the award-winning director. Nair, who began her career as an actor, is a great mimic, loves gorging on masala dosa and believes in living life to the fullest. A week before her film The Reluctant Fundamentalist hits the marquee in India, she tells RINKY KUMAR, during a visit to MiD DAY’s office, how being a world citizen helps her depict the intricacies of life better on screen
Rinky Kumar (MID-DAY; May 12, 2013)
What prompted you to make a film on Mohsin Hamid’s bestselling novel The Reluctant Fundamentalist? After reading Mohsin’s novel, I realised that though it was a monologue, it had the potential to have a dialogue with America. And that gave me the springboard to adapt it into a movie. That’s the way I look at adaptations. They need to have a point of view. While being faithful to the book’s spirit, I should also be able to say what I want to.
Was Mohsin involved in the adaptation process? Yes. When I bought the novel, I approached A- list Hollywood screenwriters and saw how ignorant they were about the subcontinent. And, sometimes, with ignorance comes arrogance. I would have conversations with them where they would say, “Firstly, we should just crop the word fundamentalist” and I knew instantly that the collaboration wouldn’t work. I knew what I wanted to do in the More >
Priya Gupta (BOMBAY TIMES; May 7, 2013)
Kiran Rao, 39, may have married one of the most powerful men in Bollywood, but she still remains a simple, happy and self-reliant person just as she was brought up to be. Over an hour-long conversation, she opens up to Bombay Times about her film school Lagaan, her attraction to Aamir Khan and how Azaad has changed her life. Excerpts:
Let’s talk about your childhood? I was born in Bangalore but grew up in Kolkata and I read, write and speak Bengali. My dad was an engineer and worked for the steel industry. I loved school (Loreto House) and had a really happy childhood. We were quite a middle class family, but we had access to all the good things in life, be it books or access to a club. I was outgoing and did a lot of elocution, singing and theatre. We were always taught to enjoy small things and went for a lot of family holidays in a train lugging in a second-class compartment, enjoying the lndscape of Bihar or climbing up the Himalayas. I have memories of my father jumping out of a train and buying us hot pooris and aloo on a patta or buying guavas for us. My dad would always bring back a book from anywhere he went and so for me the treat was always a new Tintin. Another ritual was the Friday night movie at the Saturday Club, where we would have our mutton samosas with tea. My parents always had this great love for life.
How did you come to Mumbai? After my 12th, my parents moved to Bangalore while I moved to Mumbai to study More >
Shakti Shetty (MID-DAY; April 25, 2013)
Actors tend to spend a lot of time travelling away from their families. However, sometimes, it so happens that they chance upon home in an altogether foreign land. At least that’s what happened to Pakistani actor Riz Ahmed during the shoot of Mira Nair’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist.
While filming for the post- September 11 drama based on Mohsin Hamid’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist in India, the lead actor — who co- stars Kate Hudson in the film — stumbled upon something unexpected. When Riz saw the college in Old Delhi where he was shooting for some pivotal scenes, it reminded him of his childhood memories. Turns out it was the same college his grandfather had attended before the Partition took place! Riz was pleasantly surprised on discovering his Indian roots and he reminisces, “We were filming in an old compound called the Anglo-Arabic Islamic School when I happened to learn my granddad was a student of this college and my granddad’s uncle used to be its president. It was a way for me to unexpectedly reconnect with my own heritage as well. I wasn’t even aware of these connections before visiting the location.”
Mira couldn’t shoot the film in Pakistan due to security reasons, although the script pretty much demanded Lahore. “Improvisation was the only way ahead as we had to recreate the Pakistani city in Old Delhi itself and it was a challenge worth taking up,” adds a unit member.
Imaad Shah talks about the challenge of emulating his father Naseeruddin Shah and choosing to act in ‘different’ films
Shakti Shetty (MID-DAY; April 14, 2013)
He’s 26 and barely eight films old. However, Imaad Shah speaks with a sort of maturity that lays more emphasis on craft than stardom. Being the son of veteran actors Naseeruddin Shah and Ratna Pathak Shah is bound to create pressure but Imaad seems to know how to handle it. Thrilled about his upcoming film The Reluctant Fundamentalist followed by Tasher Desh, the youngster is balancing theatre and music along with cinema. In a candid with SUNDAY MiD DAY, he reveals how…
Did you read Pakistani author Mohsin Hamid’s novel before you signed up for The Reluctant Fundamentalist? Actually, I read it twice. Once when it launched in 2007 and later when director Mira Nair approached me for the film. I was delighted to be part of the project, so I went back to the pages to get a better feel of my character and the whole situation.
What was the greatest challenge about playing a Pakistani character in the movie? Since I’m playing a Lahore-based guy named Samir, I wanted to get under his skin. The Punjabi spoken in Pakistan is quite different as compared to the Indian dialect and the dissimilarity can be noticed even in their Hindi and Urdu. So my part also involved a fair amount of improvisation. Come to think of it, getting the the language right was the biggest challenge for me.
What sets Mira Nair apart from others More >
In Mumbai for the re-release of Salaam Bombay!, Mira Nair sees magic in silence
Chandrima Pal (MUMBAI MIRROR; March 17, 2013)
Mira Nair is delicately picking on a plate of sev puri at a Colaba fivestar, her eyes sparkling at the memory of how her most seminal work was put together. In Mumbai to celebrate the re-release of Salaam Bombay! to mark its 25th anniversary, Nair relives moments behind the story of a runaway kid who becomes a teaboy in a red-light area. “During our workshops with the kids, ‘acting’ was a bad word. Every kid initially tried to ape his favourite star and walked with a swagger. But once we convinced them to drop the charade, they were just….” she snaps her finger animatedly.
Nair’s debut was special in more ways than one, and she realised it at a film festival in Goa in 2010. “There were cinematic lessons… one tends to forget that over the years with one film after another. You know, been there, done that,” she says. “The purity of the film was because of the kids,” she says, “but I realised that it was powerful because of the pauses, too.”
Nair’s “new Bombay” glides past the hotel’s large windows in luxury sedans. The other half sells knick knacks at the Gateway. “If I were to revisit the film, I’d say the reality of street children would be harsher. Brown sugar was just getting in then, now it is accessible everywhere.” There is also something that seems to bother her deeply. “The rich here are now the super rich, the poor… well… they are super More >
Sabrina Dhawan says film writing could be quite a thankless job
Shakti Shetty (MID-DAY; March 12, 2013)
She quips that she prefers ‘Ask mummy’ to the clichéd ‘No comments’. However, she she answers all the ensuing queries without resorting to either of them. The New York-based Sabrina Dhawan, who co- wrote the screenplays for Kaminey and Ishqiya and was a script consultant for Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola, is in the city thanks to her association with Screenwriters Lab. In a tête-à-tête with us, the jovial film writer shares her thoughts on several topics…
Do you visit India often? Yes, I do. I have a six-year-old son so it’s very important to me that he visits his country of origin regularly. On a professional level, it’s a basic necessity as well. If I don’t come back often, I won’t have anything to write about contemporary India. So I keep coming back again and again.
There aren’t many female screenwriters in the industry. Why? It’s a historical fact but things are drastically changing now — not only in cinema but also in other spheres of life. The numbers are steadily going up. Something totally unheard of, say, about a decade ago.
How responsible is a writer for the outcome of a film? I’ll tell you what, when a film works, the director takes all the credit but when it fails, the writer squarely gets the blame for messing up! Directors don’t direct blank pages, do they? It begins with the writer. Film critics rarely acknowledge the writers and their contribution. Having More >
The talented actor, who gears up to host a TV show, also talks about his inspiring journey
Chaya Unnikrishnan (DNA; January 19, 2013)
Who do you consider as an achiever? Anybody who is dedicated and passionate about his job, earns respect, is an achiever. He/she does not have to be a millionaire or plastered on the hoardings to be one. It is as simple as that.
For a change you will be interviewing people on Achievers’ Club, how do you plan to draw people out? I believe that if you are open, honest and willing to give a part of yourself, it is easy to disarm people and get them to open up. I am not here to interrogate them or get a scoop. I am getting into the person’s mind and bringing out the thoughts. Anybody who watches the show on Star World has to get inspired and that is what attracted me to it.
Your journey is also an inspiring one. Tell us something about that.. I started out as a waiter at the Taj hotel. Two years later, I would fry and sell potato chips in a shop opened by my mother. I worked as a shopkeeper for 12 years. Photography was a hobby. Then I got a break as a photographer in an advertising agency. Shiamak (Davar) introduced me to Alyque Padamsee and my first play happened, in which I had a two-and-a-half minute scene. After that I did theatre and at the age of 44 I did Munnabhai MBBS and the rest… (pauses) you know.
Most of the people you are interviewing like Priyanka Chopra and Mira Nair are people you know or worked with. It must have been easier More >
Mira Nair refutes the tag of being an outsider and says there are more women professionals in Bollywood than in the West
Shakti Shetty (MID-DAY; December 6, 2012)
She’s about to board a flight and it’s apparent from the background cacophony that she doesn’t have much time left to talk. But talk, she does. Mira Nair was recently in Goa for the screening of her upcoming international film based on Mohsin Hamid’s book The Reluctant Fundamentalist. This particular project has been in the making for five years and will only have a commercial release next year. In a candid chat, Mira speaks about being patient, her favourite actors and directing a Bollywood masala film…
What was the biggest challenge you faced while making this film? Having earlier adapted books for Vanity Fair and The Namesake, I knew the obstacles that awaited us with Mohsin’s novel. The biggest of them was probably the part where you want to have a global dialogue through the film’s story. This translation takes humongous efforts in terms of time and creativity. The financial aspects can’t be overlooked either because money is a constant struggle for a filmmaker.
Talking of filmmakers, why aren’t there more female directors? (Pauses) I don’t know but if you ask me to compare Hollywood with Bollywood, I’d say women are in a better position in the latter part of the world. There are successful female directors, writers, lyricists and technicians here — something I’m yet to come across in the West. We have role More >
Despite a recent slew of highprofile films, Adil Hussain insists that he’s yet to arrive
Shakti Shetty (MID-DAY; December 5, 2012)
Adil Hussain initially got noticed in Ishqiya and was next seen in Agent Vinod playing a rather minor role. Then he portrayed Sridevi’s husband in her comeback film English Vinglish. He continued the spousal act with Tabu in Life of Pi. Adil will be next seen in Mira Nair’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist. However, the Assamese actor feels he has done nothing exceptional in any of the aforementioned movies and that his best is yet to come.
“I am nowhere close to my real potential but am sure I will be there very soon,” he says. Nonetheless, the Delhi-based actor admits to getting better offers than ever before. “I try to see if the script and situations are challenging enough. I stay away from one-dimensional roles as I often ask myself – is the role worth exploring or is the director exciting? There are so many elements I look into now,” he adds.
The 49-year-old is currently shooting in Assam for a local film and is looking forward to the release of two of his projects from the so-called parallel cinema. On being asked how come north-easterners are almost absent in Bollywood, Adil gives a convincing explanation. “The north east is a huge area with an extraordinary mix of languages. And to get out of that vernacular influence on Hindi is quite difficult. So in my opinion, our poor diction betrays us. On the other hand, you’ll find Assamese people More >
Naseeruddin Shah says both his sons — Imaad and Vivaan — will have to find their feet in the film industry on their own
Shakti Shetty (MID-DAY; December 3, 2012)
In Bollywood, it’s a common practice amongst established names to help launch their young ones. But Naseeruddin Shah is not one of them. The veteran actor believes that his children must go through the predictable grind to make a place for themselves in the crowd.
Naseeruddin, who recently announced that he’s taking a sabbatical from films, has whole-heartedly shifted his attention to his first love: theatre. Interestingly, all his kids are also active on the stage but also dabble in cinema.
On being asked about his thoughts on his kids following his footsteps, the 62-year-old states, “I’m glad that they are doing something which is very close to my heart. It wasn’t me who goaded them to take this path. They chose it on their own so I’m proud of them. But I can tell you from my experience that camera is a cruel friend. It either likes you or it doesn’t.” The thespian’s elder son Imaad, who has acted in several films, will next be seen in Mira Nair’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist as well as Q’s (of Gandu fame) Bengali film Tasher Desh. He is an aspiring musician too.
Vivaan, who received critical appreciation for his work in 7 Khoon Maaf, is yet to start with his second film. He was rumoured to co-star Priyanka Chopra once again in Vishal Bhardwaj’s forthcoming project Dream Sequence but the plan is yet to take More >