Seher Aly Latif was the quintessential sunshine girl. Someone whose wide smile, ‘mushy’ hugs, and laughter often punctuated serious conversations about cinema. In her short but immensely influential life as an international casting director and producer, she touched many lives with her brilliance and warmth and opened many doors for nascent talent in India and abroad. Her sudden demise in June left her friends and peers grappling with disbelief and immense shock.
Seher’s far-reaching impact as a kind, generous, and formidably talented human being is also being remembered and mourned by the faculty and close-knit alumni community of The Social Communications Media Department (SCMSophia) of Sophia Smt. Manorama Devi Somani College as a part of Sophia Polytechnic. Seher’s formative years as a student here shaped her professional journey and now the college has memorialised her at the campus with a completely refurbished studio floor named after her. A dedicated 2,000 sq ft space in the heart of Mumbai, the floor will have a state-of-the-art large broadcast news studio with a fully-equipped production control room with audio visual projection facilities and a smartboard, two editing suites, an audio recording and mixing suite, and a breakout room for students.
The renovation entailed a complete stripping-down of the entire floor and upgrades like soundproof walls, state-of-the-art audio-visual equipment, a smartboard to replace the whiteboard, computer, LED screen, and much more. Also included will be new editing tables, smart storage solutions, ergonomic furniture, and eco-friendly lighting solutions apart from a completely new wooden flooring. The renovation took over a month and is ready in time to welcome the 2021-2022 batch at the institution.
Close associate and friend, actor, and producer Dia Mirza says, “Seher was always a firm believer in a strong foundation – a foundation built on a good education, and versatile experiences in life and at work. She always admired SCM and her college Sophia’s as the key influences that helped her create foundational skills and craft the core values and strong work ethic that we came to love and admire her for. This contribution to SCMSophia and future students, I believe, is Seher’s way of saying ‘thank you.”
“While I did not personally teach Seher at SCM, I have followed her successes with great pride. We are dismayed that a bright star from our constellation has been prematurely dimmed. Her memory will now stay with all future scmites, thanks to the generous contribution from her business partner and close friend, Shivani Saran.” says, Nirmita Gupta, current Head of SCMSophia.
Her close friend and co-founder of Mutant Films, Shivani Saran says, “The SCMSophia Seher Latif Memorial Studio is not just a gesture of gratitude from someone who always credited SCM for shaping her into the filmmaker the world knows her as, but is meant to be a tribute to Seher’s extraordinary life and generosity.”
On December 17, the institute formally unveiled the renovated facility and on December 18, a very special event will go live from Paris where award-winning journalist and alum Leela Jacinto will be in conversation with Sahitya Akademi Awardee and Windham-Campbell Prize winner Jerry Pinto.
Seher Aly Latif was the co-founder of Mutant Films, (behind Netflix originals like Feels Like Ishq, Maska and Bhaag Beanie Bhaag) and the casting director of prestigious international projects like The Lunchbox, Eat Pray Love, Zero Dark Thirty, Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Furious 7, Viceroy’s House; as well as shows like McMafia and Sense8. Seher was also the executive producer of Akshay Kumar’s Gold, Vidya Balan-led Shakuntala Devi, and Noblemen.