Distance gives perspective. It’s a statement that is present in all cultures. As we see the film and television audience becoming increasingly international, it’s apparent that there are contributions behind the camera regarding this idea. Diversity in the creative arts is an immense benefit as it brings both talent and different interpretations of the same scenario. Producer/writer Naina Gade has been behind the scenes of major hit shows in India ranging from lifestyle to dance and celebrity. Having gained international notoriety for her work, both the UK and the US have sought to include her to transfer a little of her magic touch to work outside of India. Gade continues to prove that the talent and work ethic behind the camera is at the equal to that in front of it.
The productions which are created in Hollywood and the UK reach all corners of the Earth. Naina was a young girl in Nagpur, Maharashtra (India) who always delighted in these stories and yet she had a different reaction than that of her friends. She recalls, “The first time my senses went beyond the story was when Harry Potter and The Chambers of Secrets came out. As I was watching it, my mind was popping questions by the minute... ‘How many people did they get in this shot?’, How did they manage so many artists at once?, How difficult it must have been to get this shot done perfectly without any mistakes from anyone!’ etc. My cousin who was sitting beside me was the unfortunate victim of all those questions. Everyone has that relative who asks too many questions…and I was that relative.” This curiosity would lead her to a successful career in television working as a producer for shows like Fox Traveller India’s Style and the City, BBC Worldwide India’s Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa and STAR TV India’s Nach Baliye (massively successful dance competition shows in India), and numerous others. It was an experience which helped connect the people of her home country while being entertained. The notoriety of these shows and their obvious connections to networks outside India focused attention on Naina’s talent, creating a natural career arc to productions outside her homeland.
The notable resume Gade had cultivated by the age of only twenty-five impressed producer Sharron Aubrey enough to set up a meeting with her. By the end of the meeting Aubrey had offered Naina the Executive Producer position for the feature film Sugar. Directed by Cannes and Sundance nominated filmmaker Christine Jeffs, this Western Drama takes place immediately following the Civil War. When Klan members lynch a black landowner and kidnap two girls (one African-American and one Cherokee Indian) a fearless group of plantation women set out to rescue them. It’s a story which follows the tradition of westerns with epic scale vistas (courtesy of award-winning cinematographer Petra Korner) and characters who sacrifice in servitude to the greater good. Set in a similar era but created for television is They Came as Slaves, for which Gade is serving as both producer and writer. This historical drama TV series follows an Irish girl Abhilinn who throws herself into indentured servitude to find and rescue her sister. The plot not only depicts Abhilinn’s search but shows white and black slavery juxtaposed. What is not obvious about both of these productions is that a primary force behind them is Indian born talent Naina Gade. By bringing all of her skill yet avoiding any cultural predispositions in how to tell each story, she brings a uniqueness to telling these truly American stories. In this modern time of international collaboration in the mediums of film and television, creative professionals like Naina are reinvigorating the industry. She comments, “I love being able to explore all the different stories, ideas, cultures, languages, styles, etc. that are available now. My work allows me to interact with numerous different people which adds to the richness of the whole experience. I feel honored to be able to create something that would be remembered by people. The films and shows that we create can be so much more than just a commercial success; they can be a medium to express views and ideas that could be instrumental in bringing about a change, unity, and knowledge in society.”