Nandita Das aims to bring powerful subjects on screen

New Delhi, (Calcutta Tube) Award-winning actor-filmmaker Nandita Das believes in bringing strong, powerful subjects on screen. She says her next acting venture ‘I AM’ fits the bill as it highlights how society is intolerant towards others.

‘I had signed this film a long time back. Onir, the director, is a very sensitive and wonderful person. I have always liked to work with good people and those who have the courage to bring out good strong stories. There are four stories in it, all of them are very powerful,’ said Nandita, who was in the capital to receive the French honour.

She has acted in over 30 films in 10 different languages. The actress, who has an eight-month-old son, is not in a hurry to take up projects and is more keen on directing films.

‘For now, I am not doing any films. But on the direction front I have directed a film earlier and I am really looking forward to directing more and more films. I want to bring strong, powerful subjects on screen,’ Nandita, 41, told IANS.

‘It is challenging to tell your own story but it is the most satisfying experience. But, as of now, I am thoroughly enjoying the motherhood phase – taking care of my eight-month-old son,’ she said.

Explaining the concept of Onir’s ‘I AM’, a film with four stories with Nandita playing the lead character in one, she said: ‘Mine is about a woman who wants to be a mother and I was five months pregnant when I was shooting, which was very strange.

‘The film is about personal choices and how we as a society are intolerant to others. Whether it is religion, sex, identity, etc. Can we as a society be more tolerant? I explored the concept earlier in ‘Fire’ and in my directorial venture ‘Firaaq’.’

Nandita, who had a tough time finding financiers for her directorial debut ‘Firaaq’, praises Onir for democratising film production by arranging funds through the social networking site Facebook for his forthcoming release ‘I AM’.

‘I am impressed with the way director Onir funded ‘I AM’ through Facebook. It is a triumph of 400-odd people who have pooled in money to bring out this film. He raised more than Rs.10 million (Rs.1 crore) by writing about the stories of his film on the social networking site,’ said Nandita.

‘I could relate to Onir and his difficulties because I too struggled as a director. It is amazing that not only financing, he even managed to find actors through the site. It democratises the whole process of producing a film.’

Her ‘Firaaq’ was a political thriller set in the aftermath of the 2002 Gujarat communal violence and was lauded in the global circuit. It got two national awards and a Filmfare Award.

As an actress Nandita proved her mettle with complex roles in ‘Fire’, ‘Earth’ and ‘Bawandar’. In fact she bagged the best actress award at the Santa Monica Festival in 2001 for ‘Bawandar’, bagged best actress award next year for ‘Amaar Bhuvan’ at the Cairo Film Fest and also served as a Cannes jury member in 2005.

However, she has stayed away from commercial cinema and one wonders why.

‘People ask me why I don’t feature in commercial films, but my reason is very simple. I am fortunate that I am able to do the kind of films, the kind of work that I love doing. I feel strongly for them and find a direct connect with them,’ she said.

(Manpreet Kaur can be contacted at

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