A trivia to Nandita Das, who is the best at the work she does
Well, most of the people who have heard of Nandita might have known her as someone associated with cinema, precisely parallel cinema – as an actor. Well, that is definitely not a wrong way to introduce her, but some other things should be associated with her as well, including filmmaking, writing and social activism.
It is 7th November and it is the 51st birthday of Nandita Das, and of course, we can’t miss this trivia- elating the contributions of Nandita, to not just cinema but in Indian Cultural, social and literary world. Nandita is a Master in Social Work and has been involved with a few NGOs which are specifically working on women and children issues. From being a proactive social worker, Nandita never had the instinct or precise inclination towards acting as a career. She used to take part in street theatres in her college days and that is from where she ended up entering acting, by default. Her meeting with Deepa Mehta, the director of her first film, “FIRE” lead to her introduction as an actor.
Since she has always been interested in creating cinema for a cause, she ended up being a known face in parallel cinema and in regional cinema where she has done 40 odd films in more than 10 different languages. Her filmography includes films like Deepa Mehta’s ‘Fire’ and ‘Earth’, Mrinal Sen’s Aamaar Bhuvan, several amazing appearances in regional cinema as her acting performance and Firaaq and Manto as her directorial performance.
As an activist, Nandita, as already mentioned, has a degree in Masters in Social Work. Her notable activism can be seen with her work for child rights, spreading awareness for HIV AIDS, and notable work to end violence against women. Her contributions are not restricted till here, as she had donated to launch of the Tehelka Magazine, which is one of the well known in the field of Investigative Journalism found by Tarun Tejpal. Adding to it, if you have a knack of news and you prefer online media for the same, there are chances that you might have ended up reading Nandita’s write-ups and opinions at The Week, Indian Express, Scroll etc.
One of the campaigns run by Nandita include the “Dar is Beautiful Campaign” which was launched by Women in worth in 2009, that has a specific emphasis on drawing attention on colourism and the discrimination based on the skin colour. Leading the campaign, in 2019, she redefined the campaign as “India’s got Colour” and with Mahesh Mathai, produced a music video/ PSA for the campaign featuring artists and talents from the industry.
Amid the pandemic, she came up with a short film, “Listen to Her” representing the increasing burden and instances of domestic violence on women during the lockdown. The project was supported by foundations like UNESCO, UNFPA, UNICEF, UN Women and South Asia Foundation.
Where we can’t explain Nandita’s work in one article, we definitely believe that this article does justice to the versatility and talent of Nandita. In one line, we want to describe Nandita, we will say, “a woman who makes her own choices” essentially as she has been uncompromising weather it comes to the films she wants to direct or act in or issues she wants to stand for. On her birthday, we wish to send her the best wishes for doing the best in whatever she is doing.
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