Home » Mira Nair talks about her early film influences and her first student thesis ‘Jama Masjid Street Journal’ at MAMI Mumbai Film Festival | Hindi Movie News

Mira Nair talks about her early film influences and her first student thesis ‘Jama Masjid Street Journal’ at MAMI Mumbai Film Festival | Hindi Movie News

by Joe Bourn
Mira Nair she is known for her exciting films like “Hello Mumbai!’,’The namesake‘,’Monsoon wedding” among others. But did you know that she loves music and the escape she has? Nair who heads the jury for the South Asia competition at Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival In 2023, she talked about her early cinematic influences on Mami today.
The director recalled her earliest memories of cinema and said, “We grew up in Bhubaneswar, which was a long road with eight clubs, eight bungalows, and one of those bungalows was a Bhubaneswar club. And there, you know, we’d have fancy dress competitions and we’d have a chadar on the verandah wall, and there, once a month, we’d watch a Hindi film. There were no halls then. It was actually the creation of the capital. There were hardly any roads when we lived there. So the first film I remember was Hariyali Aur Raasta. I love music, and I love the escapist genre, seamless escapism. That was the first movie, but it was, but in the theater when it finally happened, when I was about eight years old, there was only one English movie that played every Sunday morning, and that was “Doctor Zhivago.” Once upon a time, there was bijli and there was something called “power”. We used to go and see ‘Doctor Zhivago’ and we used to sweat because the current was running the projector and the ‘blitz’ was running the fans.”
But it was actually Satyajit Ray’s films that made her take up cinema seriously. He said, “It wasn’t until I went to Cambridge, on this Harvard fellowship, that I seriously saw the first Satyajit Ray films. You know, I saw the Apu trilogy over and over again. I’d go to the Museum of Modern Art. And then another started dialogue with connecting with Manikda, with Satyajit Ray and asking him if I could be his assistant. And I’m very, very, very happy to have had many dreams of correspondence with him and friendship with him.”
The filmmaker also spoke about how her first documentary, ‘Jama Masjid Street Journal’, came about. “Jama Masjid was my first thesis, my student thesis, where I had to shoot, direct, edit everything. And basically it was like I was watching Jama Masjid, where I had pretty much grown up, instead of a veil, through a camera. And the stories I heard, yes. I was surprised it was shown theatrically. When I cut it in my room at Harvard, my classmates were like, what’s going on here and what’s going on there? And I would tell them. And then somebody said, you know, you have to write this narrative about what’s really going on. Although I had conceived it as a silent film. So I ended up writing this narrative. When I saw it at the Film Forum in New York, it’s a very beautiful and big, beautiful theater. Then I had to give It’s the first lesson. Listen to your intuition. Don’t subscribe to what the next person asks you to do. Because it’s not you.”

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