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THE NAMESAKE

>Accomplished filmmaker MIRA NAIR was born in India and educated at Delhi University and at Harvard. She began her film career as an actor and then turned to directing award-winning documentaries, including SO FAR FROM INDIA and INDIA CABARET. Her debut feature film, SALAAM BOMBAY! was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1988; it won the Camera D'Or (for best first feature) and the Prix du Publique (for most popular entry) at the Cannes Film Festival and 25 other international awards. Her next film, MISSISSIPPI MASALA, won three awards at the Venice Film Festival including Best Screenplay and The Audience Choice Award. Subsequent films include THE PEREZ FAMILY, KAMA SUTRA: A TALE OF LOVE, and MY OWN COUNTRY.

Nair returned to the documentary form in August 1999 with THE LAUGHING CLUB OF INDIA, following which she shot MONSOON WEDDING in 30 days in the summer of 2000.

Winner of the Golden Lion at the 2001 Venice Film Festival, MONSOON WEDDING also won a Golden Globe nomination for Best Foreign Language Film and opened worldwide to tremendous critical and commercial acclaim. Nair's next feature was an HBO original film, HYSTERICAL BLINDNESS, set in working class New Jersey in 1987, and starring Uma Thurman, Juliette Lewis, Gena Rowlands. The film received great critical acclaim and the highest ratings for HBO, garnering an audience of 15 million, a Golden Globe for Uma Thurman, and three Emmy Awards.

Following the tragic events of September 11, 2001, Nair joined a group of 11 renowned filmmakers, each commissioned to direct a film that was 11 minutes, 9 seconds and one frame long. In May 2003, Nair helmed the Focus Features production of the Thackeray classic, VANITY FAIR, in which Reese Witherspoon plays the lead, Becky Sharp.

Nair's company, Mirabai Films, is currently producing a series of four films to raise awareness of the AIDS epidemic in India. She will join three visionary film directors to make short films using top Indian stars, to be distributed in mainstream cinemas and television in May 2007.

In 2003, Mira Nair founded an annual filmmakers' laboratory in Uganda, Maisha, dedicated to the support of visionary screenwriters and directors in East Africa and South Asia. The Maisha mantra is if we don't tell our stories, no one else will. The school offers 12 fellowships each year to students to learn the craft of screenwriting and directing from reknowned filmmakers.

Nair's forthcoming films include GANGSTA, MD, an African-American adaptation of the Indian blockbuster comedy MUNNABHAI MBBS, and THE IMPRESSIONIST, an adaptation of the epic novel by Hari Kunzru. She is currently in production on a feature-length documentary on the Beatles in India.

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