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Mira Nair's Quotes

Mira Nair profile photo

Born: 1957-10-15
Profession: Director
Nation: Indian
Biography of Mira Nair

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We all know the power of film; we all know there's almost nothing more powerful than to see people on film that look and talk like you, like we do.

Tags: Power, Powerful, Talk

You have to want to be in the company of those you're making films about.

Tags: Company, Films, Making

Bollywood actors are so set in what they want, and the way they want it. And why shouldn't they be? But it is not the same in Hollywood, because the love of the audience is not the same.

Tags: Audience, Love, Why

Christmas lights may be the loneliest thing for me, especially if you mix them up with reindeers and sleighs. I feel alone. I feel isolated. I feel I do not belong.

Tags: Alone, May

For seven years, I made films in the cinema verite tradition - photographing what was happening without manipulating it. Then I realised I wanted to make things happen for myself, through feature films.

Tags: Films, Happen, Wanted

I am at home in many cultures. I live actively in three continents and I've done that for most of my life, so I just make films as I see the world, and that happens to speak to people. I do things that I want to do.

Tags: Done, Home, Life

I came from the school of cinema verite documentaries, which was: Do not manipulate reality as it was happening but create a narrative in the editing room.

Tags: Create, Reality, School

I grew up thinking anything was possible simply because of seeing women in power - like, you know, running the country. Which is a thought that continues to give Americans indigestion... Direction is about having a vision, but the practice of being a director is a con game - a confidence game.

Tags: Confidence, Power, Women

I know what it's like to be in one place and dream of another. I also know what it's like to feel that nostalgia is a fairly useless thing because it is stasis.

Tags: Another, Dream, Place

I look for the humanity in people, however big the politics or oppressive the situation may be, whether it's subsumed within a human being or between two human beings. I want to help us hold a mirror to ourselves.

Tags: Help, Human, Politics

I often begin movies with music in my head; it's a very important dimension to me. Not just the music itself, but how to use music in film: when and how and subtlety. I don't like to be too sweet in my stories, and I like the abrasive clang, the contrasting of sounds and cultures.

Tags: Movies, Music, Often

I started to make my own films, however small and however independent they were, from the beginning. And so, even though I was nobody, I was always the master of my own work.

Tags: Beginning, Small, Work

I think films have to reach people and really grab them. That's what I hope to do when I make a film - to get under your skin and really make you think about something, and have a transporting time that takes you somewhere.

Tags: Film, Hope, Time

I think there's a level of ignorance, when, in the callowness of youth, you imagine that you are inventing the world for the first time. You imagine that your parents don't know what it feels like to fall in love.

Tags: Ignorance, Love, Time

I've been able to look at the world differently from three continents practically. I've always lived between India and the U.S. When I married Mahmood I became a daughter-in-law of Africa. That really changed my worldview. I can see it from so many perspectives.

Tags: Able, Between, Married

I've loved 'Vanity Fair' since I was 16 years old. You know, we're all colonial hangovers in India, steeped in English literature. It is one of these novels that I read under the covers at my convent boarding school in Simla.

Tags: Loved, Old, School

In America, we have so many movies and so much media about the Islamic world, the sub-continental world, but it's not a conversation, it's a monologue. It's always from one point of view. 'If we don't tell our own stories, no one will tell them' is my mantra.

Tags: America, Movies, Tell

It gave me a lot of pleasure and pride that 90 percent of the crew for 'Monsoon Wedding,' and most of my film, are women. We get the work done, you know, much lesser play of ego... And I really believe in harmony, I believe in working in a spirit of egolessness and that the film is bigger than all of us.

Tags: Wedding, Women, Work

Middle-class Pakistani cultural life is what I've seen, what I know - they're not all screaming faceless mullahs. It's disturbing that in American films, the character on the other side is not even named.

Tags: American, Character, Life

New York City is home to so many people from so many places and the uniqueness of it is that you never feel a foreigner. English is almost hardly ever heard in the subway. In fact, it's weird.

Tags: Fact, Home, Weird

Once 9/11 happened, people who looked like me and whose children looked like us and whose husbands looked of a community, really were made to feel quite the other, and I thought that was impossible in a city like New York but I myself was witness to that.

Tags: Children, Impossible, Thought

There's nothing universal about Indian families except that the family itself is deeply important across the country. It's sort of the fabric and anchor of our country.

Tags: Country, Except, Family

They say now in America that final cut doesn't mean anything. As Harvey Weinstein said to some film-maker, 'You can have final cut. I'll open your film in Arkansas.'

Tags: America, Mean, Said
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We have three generations at home, including my father-in-law. I keep a very low profile, and a lot of things I do are very much with the family in mind. I have actually made films with the family around me.

Tags: Family, Home, Mind

We have to realize only in communication, in real knowledge, in real reaching out, can there be an understanding that there's humanity everywhere, and that's what I'm trying to do.

Tags: Humanity, Knowledge, Real

What's nice about what we have is when you enter the set, the world of film, it becomes this real cocoon, very different from all the publicity. That's the fun part.

Tags: Fun, Nice, Real

With Vietnam, the Iraq War, so many American films about war are almost always from the American point of view. You almost never have a Middle Eastern character by name with a story.

Tags: American, Character, War

You know, the sad thing of post-9/11, which was of course horrific, was that the city in which I felt completely at home for two decades, suddenly people like us - brown people - were looked at as the 'Others.'

Tags: Home, Others, Sad

You've got to understand that in Bollywood, every actor is an instrument, and yet a human being. They come to the set with a set agenda, believing, 'This is who I am, this is what I want, and no, I am not going to become that character you want me to.'

Tags: Character, Human, Understand

I always like to reveal the fact that the emperor has no clothes. And children are best at that. They teach us how to see the world in that sense. They are without artifice; they see it for what it is. I am drawn to that ruthless honesty.

Tags: Best, Children, Honesty

Marriage of attraction is a gamble anyway, so you might as well marry into a family that is similar to your own, and make that much less of an adjustment. But the 'love marriage', as it is called, is equally common in India now. But it would be interesting to do a comparison of what would work better. Marriage is hard work, and it is a gamble.

Tags: Love, Marriage, Work

Americans are not used to being bombed in their beds, but if you come from anywhere outside America, it's not highly unusual.

Tags: America, Outside, Used

Creative freedom is an imperative for me, but it doesn't really exist in a Hollywood game.

Tags: Creative, Freedom, Game

Every film is a political act; it's how you see the world.

Tags: Act, Film, Political

Every frame and every scene has to have an intention.

Tags: Frame, Intention, Scene

Humility is not a trait I often associate with America.

Tags: America, Humility, Often

I am an independent film-maker first and foremost. I have always cut my own cloth.

Tags: Cloth, Cut, Foremost

I am still attracted to stories about people who are considered to be on the outside of society. I still seek inspiration from those stories.

Tags: Outside, Society, Stories

I grew up in a small town in India, but through books I knew the world.

Tags: Books, Knew, Small

I grew up in a very small town which is remote even by Indian standards. I always dreamed of the world.

Tags: Small, Standards, Town

I want to question what the outside is and who defines it. I often find those that are considered to be on the outside extremely inspiring.

Tags: Often, Outside, Question

If we don't tell our own stories, no one else will.

Tags: Else, Stories, Tell

In our house we say 'adolescence' is a western word. We don't believe in it.

Tags: House, Western, Word

It took me three years to learn to dress in the American way, especially in winter. That was just like me. I barely wear socks even now.

Tags: American, Learn, Three

It's only at this age that I can say the word 'art' without flinching.

Tags: Age, Art, Word

Making films is about having absolute and foolish confidence; the challenge for all of us is to have the heart of a poet and the skin of an elephant.

Tags: Challenge, Confidence, Heart

My family is almost exactly like the one in 'Monsoon Wedding'. We are very open, fairly liberal, loud people.

Tags: Almost, Family, Wedding

My films, no one else will do.

Tags: Else, Films

Never take no for answer, and try to make films that turn you on.

Tags: Films, Try, Turn

Never treat anything you do as a stepping stone. Do it fully, and follow it completely.

Tags: Follow, Stone, Treat

Post 9/11, so much has changed in New York that it does not give you that homely feeling which it did before.

Tags: Feeling, Give, York

'Salaam Bombay' didn't put a halo on the poor. Instead, it said that they will teach us how to live.

Tags: Poor, Put, Said

Truth is more peculiar than fiction. Life is really a startling place.

Tags: Life, Place, Truth

Truth is much stranger than fiction and, often, much more powerful.

Tags: Often, Powerful, Truth
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