Sooni Taraporevala (b. 1957, Bombay) received a scholarship to attend Harvard University, where she studied English Literature, Film and Photography. After her BA, she enrolled in the Cinema Studies Department at New York University for her MA. In 1981, she returned to India to work as a freelance still photographer. In 1986 she wrote her first screenplay, Salaam Bombay!, for director/producer Mira Nair. The film was nominated for an Oscar, won more than twenty-five awards worldwide, and earned Taraporevala the Lillian Gish Award from Women in Film in 1988. Her second screenplay, Mississippi Masala, also for Mira Nair, won the Osella award for Best Screenplay at the Venice Film Festival, 1990.
Other screenplay credits include films Such a Long Journey, based on the novel by Rohinton Mistry and directed by Sturla Gunnarson, which earned Taraporevala a Genie nomination from the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television; My Own Country, based on the book by Abraham Verghese and directed by Mira Nair for Showtime television; the film Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar directed by Dr Jabbar Patel for the Government of India and the National Film Development Corporation of India, and The Namesake, directed by Mira Nair, based on the book by Jhumpa Lahiri.
She wrote and directed her first feature film, Little Zizou, 2008, which won a National Award as well as several international awards.
In 2000 she authored and published a book of her photographs PARSIS: The Zoroastrians of India; A Photographic Journey. Photographs from Parsis were included in Tate Modern’s 2001 exhibition, Century City: Art and Culture in the Modern Metropolis, Lille 3000 in Lille 2006, India Moderna, IVAM Institut Valencia d’Art Modern 2008, Photoquai, Musee de Quai Branly, 2009 and solo exhibitions at Harvard University’s Sert Gallery (2012), Chemould Prescott Road, Mumbai (2013), National Gallery of Modern Art, Delhi (2013). The photographs are a part of the NGMA’s permanent collection.
In 2014 Sooni Taraporevala was awarded a Padma Shri. She lives in Mumbai.