Mira Nair talks about her early influences of cinema, and her first student thesis ‘Jama Masjid Street Journal’ at MAMI Mumbai Film Festival – Times of India

Mira Nair is known for her path-breaking movies like ‘Salaam Bombay!’, ‘The Namesake‘, ‘Monsoon Wedding‘ amidst others. But did you know that she loves the music and the escapism that it has? Nair who is Head of the Jury for the South Asia Competition at the Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival 2023, spoke about her early cinema influences at Mami today.
The filmmaker recalled her early memories of cinema and said, “We grew up in Bhubaneswar, which was one long street with eight clubs, eight bungalows, and one of those bungalows was a Bhubaneswar club.And that’s where, you know, we’d have fancy dress competitions, and we would have one chadar against the verandah wall, and there, once a month, we would see a Hindi movie. There were no theatres then. It was actually the creation of the capital. There were hardly any roads when we were living there. So the first film I remember was Hariyali Aur Raasta. I love music, and I love the sort of escapist, unabashed escapism of that. So that was the first film, but it was, but in the theatre, when it was finally made, when I was about eight years old, there was only one English film that would play every Sunday morning, and that was ‘Doctor Zhivago’. In the old days, there was bijli and there was something called ‘power’. We would go and see ‘Doctor Zhivago’ and we used to sweat because the power would run the projector and ‘bijli’ would run fans.”
But it was actually Satyajit Ray’s movies which got her serious about cinema. She said, “It was only when I went to Cambridge, to this scholarship at Harvard, that that’s when I saw, seriously, the first Satyajit Ray films. You know, I saw the Apu trilogy over and over again. I would go to the Museum of Modern Art. And then that started a whole other dialogue with actually connecting with Manikda, with Satyajit Ray, and asking him if I could be his assistant. And I have several, actually, very happy to have had several dreams of correspondence with him, and friendship with him.”
The film-maker also spoke about how her first documentary, ‘Jama Masjid Street Journal’ happened. “Jama Masjid was my first thesis, my student thesis, which is where I had to shoot, direct, edit everything. And it was basically like seeing Jama Masjid, where I had grown up pretty much, instead of a veil, through a camera. And the stories that I heard, yes. I was amazed that it was shown theatrically. When I was cutting it in my little room at Harvard, my fellow classmates would say, what’s happening here and what’s happening there? And I would tell them. And then somebody said, you know, you should write this narration about what’s really going on. Although I had conceived of it as a silent film. So, I ended up writing this narration. When I saw it at Film Forum in New York, it’s a very beautiful and big, beautiful theatre. Then I had to give It’s the first lesson. Listen to your intuition. Don’t subscribe to what the next person asks of you. Because it’s not you.”

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *