Sooni Taraporevala

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Sooni Taraporevala
Sooni Taraporevala.jpg
Sooni Taraporevala in 2010
Born1957 (age 6364)
Nationality India
Occupationscreenwriter, film director, photographer
Years active1988–present

Sooni Taraporevala (born 1957) is an Indian screenwriter, photographer and filmmaker who is the screenwriter of Mississippi Masala , The Namesake and Oscar-nominated Salaam Bombay! (1988), all directed by Mira Nair. [1] She also adapted Rohinton Mistry's novel Such A Long Journey [2] (2000) wrote the films Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar her directorial debut Little Zizou [3] as well as her latest film Yeh Ballet [4] (2020) A Netflix Original that she wrote and directed.


She directed her first feature film, based on a screenplay of her own, an ensemble piece set in Mumbai, in Spring, 2007, entitled Little Zizou . [5] [6] This film explores issues facing the Parsi community to which she belongs.

In 2010 Little Zizou won a National award for Best Film on Family Values [7]

She was awarded the Padma Shri by Government of India in 2014. [8] She is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Her photographs are in the permanent collections of the National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA) in Delhi and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

Early life and education

Taraporevala was born to a Parsi family in Mumbai in 1957. She completed her schooling from Queen Mary School, Mumbai. She received a full scholarship to attend Harvard University as an undergraduate. Though she majored in English and American Literature, she took many film courses including filmmaking taught by Alfred Guzzetti. [9] She met Mira Nair as an undergraduate, leading to their longtime creative collaboration. Next she joined the Cinema Studies Department at New York University, and after receiving her MA in Film Theory and Criticism, in 1981, she returned to India to work as a freelance still photographer. [10] [11] [12] She returned to Los Angeles in 1988 and worked as a screenwriter, writing commissioned screenplays for a wide variety of studios including Universal, HBO and Disney. She moved back to India for good in 1992 .


Taraporevala wrote the screenplays for Salaam Bombay! and Mississippi Masala , both directed by Mira Nair. Other projects with Nair include the screenplay for My Own Country , based on the book by Abraham Verghese, as well as The Namesake (2006), a cinematic adaptation of Pulitzer–winning writer Jhumpa Lahiri's novel, The Namesake . [8]

Her other produced credits include the film Such a Long Journey based on the novel Such a Long Journey by Rohinton Mistry and directed by Sturla Gunnarson, and the screenplay for the film Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar , directed by Jabbar Patel for the Government of India and the National Film Development Corporation of India (NFDC).[ citation needed ]

In 2016 she directed a 14-minute documentary virtual reality film Yeh Ballet [13] for Anand Gandhi's Memesys Culture Lab.

In 2020 she wrote and directed a feature film based on her documentary. The Netflix Original film Yeh Ballet produced by Siddharth Roy Kapur and Roy Kapur Films can be seen on Netflix worldwide.


In 1982, during a break from college, she met photographer Raghubir Singh, who, after looking at her work, which included photographs of her extended Parsi family, suggested she work on a book about the Parsi community. This started her extensive work of photo documentation of the Parsi community. [9]

In 2000, she self-published Parsis, the Zoroastrians of India: a photographic journey, 1980-2000 about the traditionally closed off community since their persecution in Persia, the first and only visual documentation of the Parsi community. [14] An updated edition was published in 2004. [15]

Her photographs have been exhibited in India, the US, France and Britain, including London's Tate Modern gallery.[ citation needed ]

She has had solo shows at the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts at Harvard University, Chemould Prescott Road in Mumbai and the National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA) in Delhi. Her work is in the permanent collections of the NGMA Delhi and the MET New York.

In 2017/2018, the Whitworth in Manchester exhibited her photographic show Home in the City, Bombay 1977  Mumbai 2017. It was selected by The Guardian as one of UK's top 5 shows.[ citation needed ]

A larger version of Home in the City with 102 photographs was exhibited at Chemould Prescott Road, Mumbai, from 14 through 31 October 2017. [16] An accompanying book, Home in the city: Bombay 1977  Mumbai 2017, was released with essays by Pico Iyer and Salman Rushdie. [17] It then traveled to the Sunaparanta, Goa Centre for the Arts in Altinho, Goa, opening there on 11 November 2017.[ citation needed ]


1988 Salaam Bombay! [18] NoYes
1991 Mississippi Masala [19] NoYes
1998 Such a Long Journey [20] NoYes
My Own Country NoYesTelevision film
2000 Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar [21] NoYes
2006 The Namesake [22] NoYes
2009 Little Zizou YesYes
2020 Yeh Ballet [23] YesYes



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  2. "Such a Long Journey (Rohinton Mistry and Sturla Gunnarsson)", Images of Idiocy, Routledge, pp. 205–224, 2 March 2017, doi:10.4324/9781315252704-19, ISBN   978-1-315-25270-4 , retrieved 6 December 2020
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  4. India West or empty |title= (help)
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  7. The Hindu or empty |title= (help)
  8. 1 2 Das, Soma (16 October 2015). "'Life's all about taking risks' : Filmmaker-author Sooni Taraporevala". Hindustan Times . Retrieved 19 October 2015.
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  13. or empty |title= (help)
  14. Taraporevala, Sooni (2000). Parsis, the Zoroastrians of India: a photographic journey, 1980-2000. Mumbai: Good Books. ISBN   9788190121606. OCLC   46352914.
  15. Taraporevala, Sooni (2004). Parsis: the Zoroastrians of India: a photographic journey, 1980-2004. Woodstock, NY: Overlook Duckworth. ISBN   9781585675937. OCLC   1029371098.
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  18. "Godrej Typewriter Factory, Bombay".
  19. "Mississippi Masala".
  20. "Sooni Taraporevala: Have shown religious harmony subtly in Yeh Ballet".
  21. Perreire Hawkins, Blendine; Jackson, Melanie N. G. (April 2013), "The Namesake, Sooni Taraporevala", Journal of Feminist Family Therapy, pp. 135–137, doi:10.1080/08952833.2013.777876, S2CID   216136386
  22. "The story of an iconic Indian family photograph". BBC News. 28 June 2016.
  23. "Yeh Ballet".
  24. "Padma Awards Announced". Press Information Bureau, Ministry of Home Affairs. 25 January 2014. Retrieved 26 January 2014.
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