Mira Nair is one of my favorite directors and a source of inspiration. I love her undeniable aesthetic sense and the values she promotes, such as family, love, getting in touch (and in peace) with your roots. I love that her work can contribute to positive changes in the world, by opening the minds in the audience to perspectives they didn’t necessarily consider before, to the truth behind stereotypes. She is definitely someone I would love to work with.
Her movies are a feast for the eyes and balm for the heart. I like four of them so much that I cannot choose a favorite, so I decided to write a posting comprising all four. So, I recommend, in random order:
- Salaam Bombay!
- Vanity Fair
- The Namesake
- Monsoon Wedding
Each one is beautiful and touching in its way.
In 1988-1990, this movie was nominated for an Oscar (for best foreign language film), won the Audience Award and the Golden Camera at Cannes, and got several other awards and nominations. It is the story of an abandoned boy who has to survive all by himself on the crowded streets of Bombay, in an environment of poverty, prostitution, drugs and broken hopeless dreams. It’s a classic that enriches any movie collection.
Based on the famous novel by William Makepeace Thackeray (what a great middle name!), this is a marvelous ecranisation of the story. The visuals are stunning, colorful and rich, the cast is as marvelous as the acting, and the movie is more than plain enjoyable. I once invited my grandma to watch it , but realized that there were no subtitles she cold understand on that DVD. I offered to translate for her, and she said the movie was so beautiful that she wouldn’t mind watching it without understanding a word. I have to mention that she had read the book and knew the story. And I also have to agree with grandma: Reese Witherspoon made a wonderful Becky Sharp.
This is an exquisite film about family and cultural identity, based on a novel by Jhumpa Lahiri. Kal Penn gives a great performance in the role of the American-born son of an Indian couple, struggling in the duality of his existence, trying to find out who he is and where he belongs. And, as it often happens in life, he only wanders to arrive back to his family. This movie has such amazing delicacy, lots of scenes that speak volumes despite being merely suggestive, not explicit. There is an obvious layer to the story, and there’s the reading between the lines, the emotions, the feelings, the unspeakable. Everything is beautifully put together.
Arranged marriages – what a topic! Yet, this story is spun around one. Some may be quick to judge the movie starting from the prejudices they have about this sensitive topic. However, this is the wrong way to watch this beautiful movie. The monsoon wedding may be arranged, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that the movie promotes such marriages. It is really a story about family and love. The father in the story only wants happiness in his family, and does his best – much like any sane father. The movie is a celebration of life, family and love, that can lift your spirit and fill your heart with joy.
Also, watch out for Mira Nair’s latest movie, “The Reluctant Fundamentalist“. It should be good.