Directing films, theatre plays, musicals, scripting, writing books are dreams we chase or plan to do and continue dreaming hoping to do at least one of them someday. But here is one person who has done all of this and more. What we chase as dreams she has realized them and also proved herself extremely successful in that.
She is a force to reckon with. And about this force called Sangeeta Nambiar!
Sangeeta has been associated for many years in various capacities for the Media. She first worked as a scriptwriter and Assistant Director for travel shows on Zee TV (Namaste India) and Sony Entertainment Television (Indian Holiday). She has directed corporate films in India & Singapore. She has also produced several Ad films, a music video with legendary singer Asha Bhonsle, directed a 3 part series for Mediacorp, ‘Grill Please” and so on. Recently she made her first feature film A Gran Plan which won her several accolades and got her international recognition.
Interestingly she has authored a book Barnabas – Bombay's First Private Detective about unravelling of a murder mystery set in pre-independent India, time of British Raj.
She has done a hilarious musical play "Emo! Singapore" delving on ‘emotionless Singapore’.
The plays that she has scripted and directed are: The X at 40 with Singapore’s sensational comedian Kumar; Magic for Maya with children set in war time relating to Alexandra Hospital, scene of the famous 13th Feb 1942 massacre; Ticket to Bollywood set in Mumbai; A Few Good Kids pertaining to the rampant issue of bullying. All showcased in Singapore.
And now her latest play The Silent Shadow speaks about domestic and sexual abuse that women face. It tells about women being silent sufferers, submissive and afraid to break the bonds and to break the silence fearing societal repercussions and insecurity. It ends with a statement from one of the actors, “Silence is never a solution; it only empowers the aggressor.”
Sangeeta, daughter of an army officer hailing from Kannur, moved to Singapore with her husband in 2001. She has a post graduate diploma in Journalism and Mass Comm. She has also done ‘Screenplay to screen’, a short course with the Raindance Film School, London.
About her family she says, “My husband MihirShrivastava is an extremely supportive person who has allowed me my creative space. My daughter, Rhea, is 11 years old and enjoys the creative process herself very much.”
After watching her play The Silent Shadow I caught up with Sangeeta and here are her answers to my queries.
You are so multi -talented, what got you interested in all this?
I have been associated with television and films since 1995. I started my career in Delhi in television. I was always interested in Theatre. So when I was taking a break from work in Singapore, while bringing up my daughter, I decided to dabble with theatre. And I love it!
How did you get associated with the Media?
I first worked as a script writer for a travel show called Namaste India on Zee TV
A Gran Plan, ‘film explores the relationship between a 10 year-old boy and a 68 year-old lady; a film about trust, faith and friendship’. Can you give me more details about its screening and the recognitions it received.
A Gran Plan is my first feature. I just needed to get a story out on film. It was just a desire to do so. It was selected to 8 film festivals around the world and it won me the Mira Nair award for rising female film maker at the Harlem International Film Festival, New York. It also won Farida Jalal the Best Actress award at the same festival. It won Oliver Kennett the Best Child actor award at the Silent River Film Festival, Irvine, California. It won the best NRI film at the Delhi International Film Festival. I'm yet to release it in theatres because no one finds it financially viable though everyone loves the film!
What are your other works with the film Industry?
I have worked as an Associate Producer with Sunhil Sippy on a film titled "Snip!"
When did you start your own school, Playacting Productions?
Playacting Productions is Singapore based and was formed 4 years ago.
How do you come up with your ideas for the plays?
It's tough to define exactly how these ideas come to me. Like everything creative, at some point they just do!
What was your Musical “Emo! Singapore”about?
About the Gallup poll that rated Singapore as the least emotional country in the world. I was hoping to break the myth.
Your book, Barnabas: Bombay's First Private Detective is set during the time of British occupation of India. How did you get ideas on that?
I thought the idea of an Indian detective working on the case of a missing white woman in the time of British occupation, was fascinating!
What is your next venture?
My second film! I am currently planning on giving the play The Silent Shadow a screen presence!
For Sangeeta writing a story whether in the form of a play, monologues or a film, is a process that gives her utmost satisfaction. And we do look forward to more of her creative works.
The play The Silent Shadow was presented by Playact Empowered and MYRA's Beach Club supported by UN Women Singapore Committee from 9-10th October at the Blackbox,Goodman Arts Centre. You can catch the play again at the same venue on 19th November.