This virtual event is available for ticket holders to replay for one week
- UCSB Arts & Lectures presents Mira Nair
- In conversation with Pico Iyer
- From her first feature, the Oscar-nominated Salaam Bombay!, to her recent six-part series, A Suitable Boy, Mira Nair has established herself as one of the freshest and most fearless directors working today
- Groundbreaking films include Mississippi Masala, The Namesake, Monsoon Wedding and Queen of Katwe
- Raised in India and educated at Harvard, Nair takes viewers from Uganda to New York City to rural India in her work illuminating worlds we’ve seldom seen before
- Ticket holders will be able to replay this event for one week
- Wednesday, May 26 / 5:00 p.m. Pacific / Virtual
- $10 General Public and FREE for UCSB Students (registration required)
- Tickets/Info: (805) 893-3535, www.ArtsAndLectures.UCSB.edu
▶ ▶ ▶ Editors/Reviewers: Please include the full name of UCSB Arts & Lectures in all media coverage, including reviews.
“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.”
– Mira Nair
UCSB Arts & Lectures presents acclaimed producer and filmmaker, Mira Nair in conversation with Pico on Wednesday, May 26 at 5:00 p.m. Pacific. From her first feature, the Oscar-nominated Salaam Bombay!, to her recent six-part series, A Suitable Boy, Mira Nair has established herself as one of the freshest and most fearless directors working today. Raised in India and educated at Harvard, Nair takes viewers from Uganda to New York City to rural India in her work to illuminate worlds we’ve seldom seen before. Her groundbreaking films include Mississippi Masala, The Namesake, Monsoon Wedding and Queen of Katwe and frequently explore issues around identity and displacement. Away from the camera, she has worked to support filmmaking and young directors in both East Africa and South Asia and is known for her love of music, acting and literature.
This conversation with Pico Iyer will be followed by a moderated Q&A.
Mira Nair is an Indian director known for her documentaries and feature films dealing with controversial subject matter. Nair entered the University of Delhi in 1975. She left the following year to study at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she developed an interest in documentary filmmaking. For her thesis in sociology, she produced her first documentary, Jama Masjid Street Journal (1979), a record of a traditional Muslim community. Nair then created a series of gritty and realistic documentaries that examined India’s traditions and culture, including Children of a Desired Sex (1987), which examines the country’s patriarchal society and its effects on unborn female children and India Cabaret (1985), a portrait of two aging striptease dancers.
In the late 1980s, Nair turned her attention to feature films. She produced, directed and co-wrote the acclaimed film Salaam Bombay! (1988), the story of an 11-year-old boy living on the streets that is told using documentary techniques and street people instead of professional actors. Nair followed this with Mississippi Massala (1991), which chronicled a love affair between an Indian woman and an African American man. In 1997 she was at the center of controversy as she battled India’s censors—eventually involving the Indian Supreme Court—over the release of the feature film Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love. After directing Monsoon Wedding (2001), a comedy about an arranged marriage, Nair turned to literature for inspiration. For Vanity Fair (2004), she adapted William Makepeace Thackeray’s novel of manners and the drama The Namesake (2006), which centers on Indian immigrants in the United States, was based on a novel by Jhumpa Lahiri.
Nair subsequently directed Amelia (2009), a biopic about the American aviator Amelia Earhart and The Reluctant Fundamentalist (2012), which follows a Pakistani émigré wrestling with his cultural identity in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks. The biopic Queen of Katwe (2016) depicts the life of Ugandan chess prodigy Phiona Mutesi, who overcame extreme poverty to become a grandmaster. Nair later directed five episodes of the six-part miniseries A Suitable Boy (2020), an adaptation of Vikram Seth’s epic novel about the relations between four Indian families.
Pico Iyer was born in Oxford, England in 1957. He won a King’s Scholarship to Eton and then a Demyship to Magdalen College, Oxford, where he was awarded a Congratulatory Double First with the highest marks of any English Literature student in the university. In 1980 he became a teaching fellow at Harvard, where he received a second master’s degree and in subsequent years he has received an honorary doctorate in Humane Letters.
Since 1982 he has been a full-time writer, publishing 15 books, translated into 23 languages, on subjects ranging from the Dalai Lama to globalism, from the Cuban Revolution to Islamic mysticism. They include such long-running best sellers as Video Night in Kathmandu, The Lady and the Monk, The Global Soul, The Open Road and The Art of Stillness. He has also written the introductions to more than 70 other books, as well as liner and program notes, a screenplay for Miramax and a libretto. At the same time he has been writing up to 100 articles a year for Time, The New York Times, The New York Review of Books, the Financial Times and more than 250 other periodicals worldwide.
His four talks for TED have received more than 10 million views so far. Since 1992 Iyer has spent much of his time at a Benedictine hermitage in Big Sur, California and most of the rest in suburban Japan.
UCSB ARTS & LECTURES
Founded in 1959, UCSB Arts & Lectures (A&L) is the largest and most influential arts and lectures organization between Los Angeles and San Francisco. A&L annually presents more than a hundred events, from critically-acclaimed concerts and dance performances by world-renowned artists to talks by groundbreaking authors and film series at UCSB and Santa Barbara-area venues. With a mission to “educate, entertain and inspire,” A&L also oversees an outreach program that brings visiting artists and speakers into local classrooms and other venues for master classes, open rehearsals, discussions and more, serving K-12 students, college students and the general public.
Presented in association with the Carsey-Wolf Center at UC Santa Barbara
Speaking with Pico Series Sponsors: Dori Pierson Carter & Chris Carter, Martha Gabbert, and Laura Shelburne & Kevin O’Connor
Most House Calls events are hour-long programs. Running time: approx. 60 min.
Tickets are $10 for the general public and FREE for UCSB students (registration required).
For tickets and more information, call UCSB Arts & Lectures at (805) 893-3535 or visit www.ArtsAndLectures.UCSB.edu.
UCSB Arts & Lectures gratefully acknowledges our Community Partners the Natalie Orfalea Foundation & Lou Buglioli for their generous support of the 2020-2021 season.