Indo-American Arts Council presents
Prabuddha Das Gupta’s

Published by Seagull Books
Edge of Faith
Conversation between Author Prabuddha Das Gupta and Filmmaker Mira Nair
followed by cocktails. Books will be available for sale and signing

September 3, 2009
7-9 pm

Aicon Gallery, 35 Great Jones St., NYC.

Suggested donation at door: $10
About Prabuddha Das Gupta:

Prabuddha Das GuptaPrabuddha Dasgupta is a self-taught photographer who grew up in the cultural chaos of post-colonial India. In 1996, Prabuddha Dasgupta broke a taboo by publishing 'Women' (Viking Books), a controversial collection of portraits and nudes of urban Indian women. With that gesture, he reinstated the nude to its rightful place in the Indian cultural discourse; after 200 years of Victorian morality imposed by the British colonialists had almost erased sexuality from artistic expression... in the very home of the Kamasutra.

In the decade that followed, Dasgupta pursued a variety of photographic projects, while unapologetically straddling the two worlds of commissioned and artistic work, bringing to both, a bold, individualistic sensibility that very quickly placed him in the ranks of major photographic talent in the country.

Dasgupta's work has been exhibited internationally, both in solo and group shows, and published in Indian, French, English, Italian and American magazines. His second book 'Ladakh' (Viking Books), a personal exploration of India's frontier wilderness was published in 2000 and his work is included in many books publications including 'Nudi' (Motta Editore, Milan) and 'India Now - New Photographic Visions' (Textuel, Paris). He is also the recipient of many grants and awards, including the Yves Saint Laurent grant for photography in1991, and his work is in the collections of many individuals and institutions, like the Museo Ken Damy, Brescia, Italy, and Galleria Carla Sozzani, Milan, Italy.

Dasgupta is represented in India by Bodhi Art and lives between New Delhi and Goa.

About Mira Nair:

Mira NairAccomplished Film Director/Writer/Producer Mira Nair was born in Bhubaneswar, India in 1957. Educated at both Delhi University and Harvard University, Nair began her artistic career as an actor before turning her attention to film. She found incipient success as a documentary filmmaker, winning awards for So Far From India and India Cabaret. In 1988, Nair’s debut feature, Salaam Bombay!, was nominated for an Academy Award, Golden Globe, and BAFTA Award for Best Foreign Language Film. It also won the Camera D'Or (for best first feature) and the Prix du Publique (for most popular entry) at the Cannes Film Festival as well as 25 other international awards.

Nair’s next film, Mississippi Masala, an interracial love story set in the American South and Uganda, starring Denzel Washington and Sarita Choudhury, won three awards at the Venice Film Festival including Best Screenplay and The Audience Choice Award. Subsequent films include The Perez Family (with Marisa Tomei, Anjelica Huston, Alfred Molina and Chazz Palminteri), about an exiled Cuban family in Miami; and the sensuous Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love, which she directed and co-wrote.

Nair directed My Own Country based on Dr. Abraham Verghese's best-selling memoir about a young immigrant doctor dealing with the AIDS epidemic. Made in 1998, My Own Country starred Naveen Andrews, Glenne Headly, Marisa Tomei, Swoosie Kurtz, and Hal Holbrook, and was awarded the NAACP award for best fiction feature.

Nair returned to the documentary form in August 1999 with The Laughing Club of India, which was awarded The Special Jury Prize in the Festival International de Programmes Audiovisuels 2000.

In the summer of 2000, Nair shot Monsoon Wedding in 30 days, a story of a Punjabi wedding starring Naseeruddin Shah and an ensemble of Indian actors. The film opened to tremendous critical acclaim and commercial success and went on to win the Golden Lion at the 2001 Venice Film Festival and receive Golden Globe and BAFTA nominations for Best Foreign Language Film.

Nair’s next film, Hysterical Blindness, gave HBO its highest original film ratings in three years. Set in working class New Jersey in 1987, the film stars Uma Thurman, Juliette Lewis, Gena Rowlands, and Ben Gazarra. Over 15 million viewers watched Blindness on HBO and critics recognized the film with a Golden Globe for Uma Thurman and three Emmy Awards (including Best Supporting Actress for Rowlands and Best Supporting Actor for Gazarra).

Following the tragic events of September 11, 2001, Nair joined a group of 11 renowned filmmakers, each commissioned to direct a film that was 11 minutes, 9 seconds and one frame long. Nair’s film is a retelling of real events in the life of the Hamdani family in Queens, whose eldest son was missing after September 11, and was then accused by the media of being a terrorist. 11.09.01 is the true story of a mother's search for her son who did not return home on that fateful day.

In 2003, Nair produced “Still the Children Are Here,” an intimate documentary by Dinaz Stafford about the Garo peoples of Meghalaya, India.

In May 2003, Nair directed the Focus Features production of the William Thackeray classic, Vanity Fair, a provocative period tale set in Georgian England, filmed entirely on location in the UK and India. Reese Witherspoon stars as Becky Sharp, a woman who defies her poverty-stricken background to clamber up the social ladder; Jim Broadbent, Bob Hoskins, Eileen Atkins, Gabriel Byrne, and Rhys Ifans round up the stellar ensemble cast.

Nair was appointed as the mentor in film by the prestigious Rolex Protégé Arts Initiative, joining fellow mentors Jessye Norman, Sir Peter Hall, David Hockney, Mario Vargas Llosa, and Saburo Teshigawara to help guide young artists in critical stages of their development.

In 2005, Mira Nair adapted and directed Jhumpa Lahiri's The Namesake with Fox Searchlight, which premiered in theatres worldwide to rave reviews in March 2007. In January 2007, Ms. Nair directed Migration, one of four short films by acclaimed Indian film directors, to raise awareness about the AIDS epidemic in India. Migration will open as part of the four film series, AIDS JAAGO, at the 2007 Toronto International Film Festival. Next up, Nair is slated to direct Shantaram with Warner Brothers, starring Johnny Depp later this year.

In addition, Mirabai Films has established an annual filmmaker’s laboratory, Maisha, which is dedicated to the support of visionary screenwriters and directors in East Africa and South Asia. The first lab, which is focus on screenwriting, was launched in August 2005 in Kampala, Uganda.

Nair currently lives in New York City with her husband and son.

About the book:

Essay by William Dalrymple:

"We may not have had electricity in those days," said Gertrude Nazareth, "but at least we had morals."
"Not just morals," continued her sister Celine, "but honesty, integrity, civic sense..."
"… politeness..."
"... and values such as respect for your elders. Oh yes."
"People were much more polite then," sniffed Gertude. "No question."
"And much more honest too."
"When you promised something…"
"Being old," said Celine, "perhaps we feel it more."
The two sisters were sitting in identical blue and white frocks in their red-roofed bungalow on the edge of the Goan village of Moira. Above them hung a framed image of the Sacred Heart. They looked southern European rather than Indian in their colouring and broad faces, and they had both cut their grey hair short into an old-fashioned 1950's bob. Only Celine's glasses, which she wore hung on a string around her neck, distinguished the outfits of the two sisters. To one side of where they sat stood was a little shrine where candles flickered in front of an old wooden crucifix, flanked on either side by St Sebastian and St Joseph. On the mantelpiece, where one would normally expect to find family photographs, was instead a large framed photograph of the Pope.
"Whatever you say about the Portuguese," continued Gertrude, "they were not corrupt."
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