Born to a scientist father and spiritually-inclined mother, Mazhar Kamran grew up in the metropolitan cities of India.
Mazhar Kamran’s early schooling was in St Xavier's High School, a Jesuit institution housed in a nineteenth century neo-gothic building in Fort, Bombay. He went for graduate studies to the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras and studied electrical engineering and while there, developed a growing interest in cinema. After the graduate degree, he went on to study filmmaking at the Film and Television Institute of India, Pune.
Mazhar started out as a filmmaker with a tiny crew, of three - focusing on culture ("Surabhi”) and science ("Turning Point”), for popular programmes on television. His work allowed him to travel widely, and he describes these years as his definitive "Discovery of India” journey. He was called back to Mumbai to work as a cinematographer for the feature film "Satya" which has gone on to become a cult classic of Indian cinema.
Thereafter, he shot several more mainstream Bollywood films that continued to make a mark, including "Kaun" and "Jhankaar Beats". He made his directorial debut in 2009 with “Mohandas“, a feature-length narrative film based on a literary novella. Critically acclaimed upon release, it was nominated for several national and international film festival awards including the Grand Prix at the Fribourg International Film Festival. It was also featured in the New Directors section of the San Francisco International Film Festival and won the Special Jury Prize at the International Film Festival of Innsbruck, Austria.
Mazhar has also directed and produced several documentary films. Two of his documentary films, on the life and work of widely translated eminent Urdu authors who have won India's highest awards for literature – Qurratulain Hyder and Naiyer Masud – were commissioned by the Sahitya Akademi (National Academy of Letters, India). He also made an award-winning film on his hometown, Lucknow for the Department of Tourism. UNCLE, is his most recent documentary.