fire called Nandita!
doesn’t wear glittering eye lashes or die
for designer wears, but she does walk the red
carpet and does it in style stealing the show.
She is a Diva in her own right. It takes more
than a few films and the limelight that comes
with it to be associated with movies that serve
as a wake up call for social awareness. The drive!
Call her the queen of parallel cinema or the thinking
man’s Monica Belucci, there is no denial
to the fact that Nandita belongs to that rare
breed of thinking women in Indian cinema. That
is a species in the brink of extinction with very
few surviving specimens, perhaps even in the world
With her desi (or rather homely) elegant looks,
she could easily have given a run for many of
the top Bollywood heroines. Instead, she consciously
stayed away and distanced herself from mainstream
films. And with good reasons, at that. Without
which we wouldn’t have had the magical Dhanalakshmi
of Azhagi or the intense Shyama of Kannathil Muthamittal.
Not to mention, Azhagi must have been the only
film in which she ran around the trees for the
nostalgic ‘Pattu Solli’ song.
Nandita has an impressive record of 36 diverse movies
in almost all prominent Indian languages including all
South Indian languages namely Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu
and Kannada. Starting from the Oriya movie Parinati
to her last year release Ramchand Pakistani, Nandita
has slipped into the shoes of fighters, revolutionaries,
yearning mothers and rape victims fighting for justice
with consummate ease. She has chosen to be part of stories
that, in her words, “need to be told”, according
to her website. That includes number of theatre works
and short films apart from movies.
There are several regional, national and international
awards on her impressive CV. When she was invited to
be the jury member of the prestigious Cannes festival,
she let the world know that Indian cinema is more than
just beauty queens turned actors.
marriage was short lived, but that did not stop her
from experimenting in relationships. She is an independent
thinking woman who falls into the ‘woman who wears
her attitude on her sleeves’ type.
Nandita’s directorial debut
Firaaq, after finishing its dream run in almost all
the international film festivals, opened last week
in India. Post-Godhra riots form the backdrop of the
movie that was also banned from screening in the multiplexes
in Gujarat briefly – for reasons not seemed
to be political. The multiplex owners alleged the
distributors of having demanded more money for the
Firaaq won three awards in the Asian
Festival of First Films in the categories of Best
Film, Best Screenplay and the Purple Orchid Award.
The movie also won the Special Jury Award in the International
Film Festival of Kerala, the special prize in the
International Thessaloniki Film Festival, Best Editor
award in the Dubai International Film Festival, Best
Film award in the Kara International Film Festival,
Pakistan and The Maverick Spirit Award at the Cinequest
Film Festival, San Jose, USA.
Although not a runaway success, Firaaq
has won accolades for its honest portrayal of lives
of ordinary citizens whose lives were victimized in
the riot hit Gujarat. The movie’s stellar cast
includes Naseeruddin Shah, Deepti Naval, Paresh Rawal,
Raghubir Yadav, Sanjay Suri, Shahana Goswami and Tisca
With Firaaq, Nandita has marked her
debut in direction with panache although she has directed
a few short films earlier. That’s probably not
to say that she will shun being in front of the cameras.
In the glitzy and glamorous world of cinema, here’s
one star determined to defy the flash-and-disappear
rule and proud enough to flaunt her thinking cap with
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