Mira Nair to receive Pride of India Award

MUMBAI: Director, writer and producer Mira Nair will receive the “Pride of  India” Award at the 9th annual Bollywood Awards to be held on 26 May, 2007 at the Nassau Coliseum, New York.

Bollywood Group of Companies chairman Kamal Dandona said, “It is indeed an honor and a matter of great pride that Mira will receive this esteemed award, which she so richly deserves. In terms of promoting and promulgating India and Indian culture globally through cinema, she stands in a league of her own. Mira was our guest at our inaugural event and we are thrilled that she will now be bestowed with of one of our highest honors.”

Nair added, “The brilliant thing is that there’s room for all of us for our four-hour Bollywood extravaganzas and for my independent work because we come from a place whose heart is as big as the ocean. And to those who worry about us filmmakers becoming more international than Indian, I say this: It is because my roots are so strong that I can fly.”

Nair, a Harvard University graduate, began her career as an actor before turning her attention to film. 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, The Laughing Club of India and the critically acclaimed Monsoon Wedding. The film 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.

Nair’s next film, Hysterical Blindness, gave HBO its highest original film ratings in three years. Critics recognized the film with a Golden Globe for Uma Thurman and three Emmy Awards. Following the tragic events of 11 September, 2001, Nair joined a group of 11 filmmakers, each commissioned to direct a film that was 11 minutes, 9 seconds and one frame long. 11.09.01 is the true story of a mother’s search for her son who did not return home on that fateful day.

In May 2003, Nair directed the Focus Features production of the William Thackeray classic, Vanity Fair, filmed entirely on location in the UK and India. Also in 2003, Nair founded an annual filmmakers’ laboratory, Maisha, dedicated to the support of visionary screenwriters and directors in East Africa and South Asia.

Nair’s latest project, the on-screen adaptation of Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Namesake, has received commercial success internationally. Also in the works is the Hollywood project Shantaram, starring Johnny Depp.