Nandita Das was born on 7th November 1969 in Delhi, India. She is daughter of noted painter Jatin Das and writer Varsha. She got her bachelor's degree in Geography and did her Master's in Social Work (MSW). She also worked as a theater/art teacher at the Rishi Valley School.
Nandita Das started acting when she was barely out of school. She worked with a street-theatre group in Delhi called Jan Natya Manch. She worked with them for about six years. She has debut in Hindi cinema with a controversy film Fire in 1998, which was based on a lesbian relationship. She says that the scenes and situations in Fire were not created to titillate. Rather, she clarifies that the character in Fire enters a lesbian relationship only due to circumstances. The young actress says she has no regrets doing the film.
After Fire she has done many Art and Commercial Hindi films. In 1998 her film was Hazaar Chaurasi Ki Maa. Then in 1999 Rockford and 1947 Earth opposite Aamir Khan and Rahul Khanna, which was also a contrversial film. Hari Bhari in 2000 and Bawandar in 2001. From Fire to Earth she then goes on to deal with her reflection in Rakesh Mehra's Aks in 2001. Some feel that it is a deliberate effort on her part to get into mainstream cinema. But she is insistent that there is much more substance to her decisions, something we call instinct and gut. Her talent, her attitude and her belief in herself, and the work she does, are the surviving elements that have helped the actress surpass the limitations of a petty mind and claustrophobic thinking. In 2002 Lal Salaam and Pitaah. In 2003 she had done a negative role in Supari. The other films were Ek Din 24 Ghante and Bus Yun Hi. In Azhagi, she plays Dhanalakshmi, a girl who is hesitant to speak about her feelings. Nandita, in fact, feels that even the real her has shades of Dhanalakshmi. She narrates an incident when she met a young boy during her summer vacations in Mumbai. She felt that she was in love with him but she never spoke about her feelings to him. Today, though, the actress feels that love seems to be evading her constantly and she is yet to fall in love after that.
Nandita Das is into South Indian cinema in a big way. She played the title role in the Tamil film Azhagi (beautiful girl). She added yet another feather to her cap playing a member of a Tamil militant group in Mani Ratnam's Kannathil Muthamitaal. She is now acting in Kannagi, a film by the Kerala director Jayraj.
Nandita's directorial debut, Firaaq is ready for release.