The most glorious moment of Mira Nair's career as a filmmaker occurred at the Venice Film Festival earlier this month.
Recalls Mira with a tremble in her voice, "I suddenly saw this frail old woman walking towards me. When she introduced herself as Teresa Ricci, wife of Gillo Pontecorvo who has made one of my ten favourite films of all time The Battle Of Algiers, I froze. Before I could tell her how much her husband's movie meant to me and how deeply it had influenced the philosophy of The Reluctant Fundamentalist, she told me in her measured voice, 'My husband's soul lives in your film.' I don't think I'd ever receive a bigger compliment. This is what I'd like to take to my grave."
At the moment Mira has taken a break in her home in New York. "I've been traveling and living out of suitcases. At least for now I've a place to hang my saree up and relax. My husband and family are with me. In fact in Venice, there were 55 of us accompanying our film. It felt so reassuring. My leading man Riz Ahmed's parents were there too. Everyone agreed he was a star. Oh yes, Shekhar Kapoor was there too in Venice as a judge. So I felt quite at home."
In fact Mira's 21-year old son Zohran, who is studying Arabic and International affairs and intends to be a journalist, gave her gyan to calm her nerves in Venice.
Chuckles Mira, "My son said, the underdog always has a good chance of creating an impression. And he was right. There were three screenings of my movie in Venice attended by 1100 people each. At one of them, we got a 12-minute standing ovation. They just clapped and clapped. I thought it would never end. I've never received such an ovation for any of my films."
Mira wore her old friend Rohit Bal's creation for the red carpet at Venice. "Gudda (Rohit Bal) and I sat together and designed this flowing kurta made of Chamundi silk. Everyone looked incredibly dapper and my hero Riz Ahmed was the star of our 55-member entourage."