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Being The "Other": Director Mira Nair On Cultural Identity
Diversity | May 10, 2013

Being The "Other": Director Mira Nair On Cultural Identity

"Living in America, in the 10 years since 9/11, it has been very disturbing to see how little we know of the other side," says film director Mira Nair in an interview with the BBC News. In her new film, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, the diversity speaker shines a light on that "other side", and addresses issues of identity and what it feels like to be "the other." While Nair personally says she did not experience a great degree of hostility after the 9/11 attacks, living in New York City around that time made her aware of the rising suspicion directed at multi-cultural communities in America. It was this experience that inspired the film. "I wanted very much to speak of this time that we have gone through, but to speak of it from both sides," Nair explains. "The other side is constantly either demonised or presented in a most reductive, simplistic and hysterical way. But actually the reality is so far from that, and it's the human being that is at the centre of both worlds—and that is forgotten."

The Economist recently had high praise for Nair's ability to eloquently handle these sensitive issues of politics and cultural identity. Her "inquisitive nature and social conscience," the review reads, "combined with a healthy appetite for storytelling has proved to be a potent mixture on screen." She provides an alternative view to this controversial subject, stressing the fact that the human element to these stories is the most important message to get across. In her work and in her speeches, Nair opens the floor to a compelling discussion about current events. Never forcing a political agenda, she explores issues of culture, race, and gender, as a vehicle to dispel common stereotypes and promote understanding.
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