Keep your voice alive while telling a story: Mira Nair


Filmmaker Mira Nair said in an interview that even with all pulls and pressures of making a film, keep your voice alive with entertainment.

The maker of several critically acclaimed as well as commercially successful movies such as “Monsoon Wedding” (2001), “Salaam Bombay” (1988), “Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love” (1996) and “Mississippi Masala” (1991), is currently busy with the post-production of her new film “Queen of Katwe”.

Nair said, “There are commercial pulls, of course, when you are helming a film. And bigger the project, the greater the number of people you are answerable to. But in the midst of all this, I always try to keep my voice alive. As the director of a film, as the story teller, you have to keep your voice alive.’’

Her film “Queen of Katwe”, produced by Walt Disney Pictures, is a biography on the life of Phiona Mutesi, an 11-year-old Ugandan girl who coincidentally walks into a chess school in her city, develops a passion for the game, and goes on to become a world class player at a very young age. The movie is set to be released in October this year, stars Oscar-winning actress Lupita Nyong’o.

“When I heard the story from a Disney representative, I was like ‘That’s my stuff’, and I instantly agreed to direct the film,” said Nair.

The National Award winning director who is known for the bold theme and treatment of the story said, “I don’t think boldness should be associated with showing off the skin. It’s not the basis of boldness. I think there is a lot bolder thinking that is now in the cinema here.”

“Also, the craft and quality have seen miles of improvement. In earlier days we had to be apologetic about the standard of things, but now we are as good as anyone else. That is just really exciting,” she added.

Explaining on one of her films “Kama Sutra”, which caused an uproar in the 1990s, she said, “Yes, definitely I would make it very differently because the world has changed and I have grown. But, yes, censorship is still there. That has not changed here, and that is incredible. Not just in cinema but in society as well. In that sense, it’s not the most open place we have been in.’’

Nair looks film as a medium of bringing about positive change in society. She also runs a film training institute called Maisha Film Lab in Uganda.

“It’s really for you to say. But I think in terms of activism associated with my films, be it Salaam Baalak Trust or Maisha, taking the idea of cinema as a way to change people, I feel heartened. I am glad that we have impacted thousands of lives,” Nair said.

She is amazed if you can create a platform where people can start to talk again.

“That’s extraordinary. So that is the power sometimes you are privileged to have had, and that is the power of cinema that can keep on going,” she added.(IANS)