Discovering new meaning in old cinema with Nasreen Munni Kabir
Nasreen Kabir is the woman behind widely acclaimed cinematic masterpieces, documentaries, books and TV shows. It is only fair to describe her as an erudite personality with a flair for writing and cinema production.
Be it her curated classic ‘Mother India’; covering A.R. Rahman’s musical journey in ‘A.R. Rahman The Spirit of Music’; or penning down ‘Conversations with Waheeda Rehman’, a book with propelling anecdotes and ingenious observations; Nasreen has time and again continued to showcase her exquisite brilliance in every piece of writing and every aspect of cinema direction.
She is the author of nineteen books on Hindi cinema. Moreover, Nasreen Munni Kabir has made over a hundred TV programmes on the same subject (Hindi cinema) for Channel 4 TV UK. At present, Nasreen continues to curate Channel 4 TV UK’s annual Indian film season.
In conversation with Nasreen, we talked about the importance of reading, the things that inspire her, and her creative approach with respect to different forms of media.
When asked about the significance of reading books in the current era of visual content, she acknowledged the influence of cinema on her life and career, but also appreciated the fact that it is important to engage your imagination and engage in some introspection by immersing yourself in a good book.
Being a film person, reading always came second. That said, there’s nothing as satisfying as getting into a book — it allows your imagination to visualise the people and the world it portrays. Reading stills you too.
Nasreen went on to detail the integral role played by the classic ‘Mother India’ in shaping her thinking and creative process. She has found herself coming back to the movie time and again to peel back the many meanings woven into the story by the respected director Mehboob Khan.