Mira Nair Biography

Mira Nair photo

Born: October 15, 1957


Date of Birth: October 15, 1957

Born in India, Mira Nair was educated at Delhi University and Harvard University. She began her career as a director working on television documentaries before making her feature directorial debut with the Academy Award-nominated foreign language film Salaam Bombay! (1988). It was a big hit at the Montreal World Film Festival, where it won the Jury Prize, Most Popular Film and Prize of the Ecumenical Jury. Nair also received the Camera d'Or for Best First Feature at the Cannes Film Festival as well as the Audience Award.

Her next film, Mississippi Masala (1991), was in English and starred Denzel Washington as an American who falls in love with a young Indian woman. It won several awards, including the Golden Osella at the Venice Film Festival. The Perez Family (1995) drew star power in the form of Anjelica Huston, Marisa Tomei and Alfred Molina, but it was left out when it came to awards and lost money at the box office.

Nair returned to India to shoot Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love (1996) in her native language, and was nominated for a Golden Seashell at the San Sebastian International Film Festival. Her next two projects were made-for-television: the Showtime telefilm My Own Country (1998), starring Tomei and Hal Holbrook, and a documentary short entitled The Laughing Club of India (1999), which won a Special Mention at the Biarritz International Festival of Audiovisual Programming and aired August 2001 on Cinemax.

Monsoon Wedding (2001) won Nair more acclaim, including a Golden Globe award nomination for Best Foreign Language Film, a British Independent Film Award for Best Foreign Language Film, an Audience Award at the Canberra International Film Festival and a Golden Lion and the Laterna Magica Prize at the Venice Film Festival. It also was a commercial success, becoming one of the Top 10 highest-grossing foreign-language films of all time in the United States.

Returning to the small screen, Nair directed Uma Thurman, Ben Gazzara and Gena Rowlands in the HBO TV movie Hysterical Blindness. The teleflick won three Emmys (one each for Rowlands and Gazzara), while Thurman was awarded a Golden Globe.

Nair brought her own interpretation to William Makepeace Thackeray's classic novel, Vanity Fair (2004), starring Reese Witherspoon, who said, "I was so excited when I got the call from Mira that she wanted me to do this film with her. I thought she had such an amazing take on this material, wanting to explore the roots of Indian culture in English society. She has this way of explaining things and making them come alive." Shot on location in England, Vanity Fair was nominated for a Golden Lion at the 2004 Venice Film Festival.

In recent years, Nair has directed a number of short films, as well as a few feature films, including Amelia (2009) starring Hilary Swank and Richard Gere, The Reluctant Fundamentalist (2014) starring Riz Ahmed, Liev Schreiber and Kiefer Sutherland, and Queen of Katwe (2016) starring Lupita Nyong'o and David Oyelowo.


Queen of Katwe(2016)
The Reluctant Fundamentalist(2014)
New York, I Love You(2009)
The Namesake(2007)
Vanity Fair(2004)
11'09''01 - September 11 (2002) (segment "India")
Monsoon Wedding(2001)
Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love (1996)
The Perez Family (1995)
Mississippi Masala (1991)
Salaam Bombay!(1988)
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