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The Nandita Das File

April 2009
The Nandita Das File


1   Films she has directed

3   Best actress awards at film festivals

10 Languages her films have been in

36 Films she has acted in

39 Her age (she was born Nov. 7, 1969, in New Delhi)

2 million YouTube views of her lesbian scene in Fire


“Mainstream cinema perceives me as an activist; and activists perceive me as an actress. So everyone wants to slot me, and I just like to say that I just like to do the things that I do.” (Khabar)

“You can say there is no real pattern to my acting. It’s pretty erratic. It’s based on what I like and what might come my way.” (India Currents)

“I feel there is more sanity and integrity in regional cinema. That is why I do films in different Indian languages. In fact, when we say regional, we are almost putting it down. I don’t think the Mumbai film industry is the only Indian film industry.” (


The daughter of painter Jatin Das and writer Varsha Das, she completed her education in Delhi, attending Sardar Patel Vidyalaya, then earning a bachelor’s degree in geography and a master’s degree in social work from Delhi University.

She began acting with a theatre group called Jan Natya Manch, performing street plays on social issues. She won critical acclaim for her performances in the Deepa Mehta movies Fire (1996) and Earth (1998), as well as Jagmohan Mundhra’s Bawander (2000) and Mrinal Sen’s Amaar Bhuvan (2002).

She made her directorial debut with the 2008 film Firaaq, based on the Gujarat carnage in 2002.

A social activist, she has actively campaigned against communal violence, violence against women and HIV/ AIDS-related stigma, and has spoken on a number of human rights issues.


Her official website

A short interview during her 2006 visit to Atlanta

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