Indian-American filmmaker Mira Nair believes obsession for cinema and a fire in the belly to succeed are far more important than luck to become successful in filmmaking.
“I do not think about luck much. I think it is about the fire in the belly, I think the kind of obsession for cinema that keeps you going, is more important. Of course there is some amount of luck involved in filmmaking to be able to transform your idea in a film and get it out to the audience in exactly the way you want it, but I don’t sit waiting for lady luck,” Nair said during a session at the Apeejay Kolkata Literary Festival here on Thursday evening.
Nair, who has enthralled the audience all over the globe with films like “Salaam Bombay!”, “Mississippi Masala” and “The Reluctant Fundamentalist”, said tenacity and a calm acceptance of rejection are also prime requisites in filmmaking.
“It is more of an idea that something is so strong within you that you just have to make it. Filmmaking is also about the tenacity to never say die. Also if you want to be a filmmaker, I think you have to learn to accept rejections because you are going to get rejected at every level all the time even if you have good connections,” she said.
Reliving her days of making the 1996 movie “Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love”, which was banned in India because of its erotic content, the filmmaker said “it was a modern film about an ancient time” and explained how she wished to explore different facets of love that is not twisted or coquettish, through the film.
Nair is more interested in real-life stories on issues that ask questions as opposed to a “good Sunday evening rom-com” because there are a lot of others who can make such films better.
“I like to make films about things that get under my skin and don’t let me go and at the same time something that doesn’t feel like home work or a lecture. I have a great love for nonsense and mischief and I like to combine that in films because life is like that,” she said.
Nair, who worked in theatre and also started her filmmaking career with documentaries, said her background enables her to mix legendary actors with complete non-actors, which has been a trademark of many of her films.
“My own training as an actor and my love for the actors helped me to bring actors of different temperaments and also from different countries together. Having worked as an actor as well as a documentary filmmaker, gives me a way to understand what a certain person can give you as an actor,” she added.