Bollywood is known as a male-dominated industry. In recent times we have seen more women getting behind the camera. They are bringing a fresh perspective with a diversity of concepts. Once there were only a few women filmmakers in Indian cinema. Today Indian cinema is riding on the wave of new-generation women directors like Meghna Gulzar and Ashwiny Iyer.
Here is a list of a few women filmmakers who redefined Indian cinema.
· Deepa Mehta
An Indian-origin director and screenplay writer, Deepa Mehta is best known for her films Fire, Earth and Water. From homosexuality to patriarchy, to misogyny, to ill-treatment of widows, her films have been described as ‘courageous’. Deepa has received awards and accolades over the years including an Oscar nomination.
· Mira Nair
Mira Nair was born in Odisha. She is an Indian-American filmmaker based in New York City. Her films are meant for international audiences. Her films have a backdrop of Indian society whether in the economic, social or cultural spheres. Among her best-known films is Mississippi Masala, Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love, The Namesake, the Golden Lion winning Monsoon Wedding, and Salaam Bombay.
· Meghna Gulzar
Daughter of actor Rakhee and renowned lyricist Gulzar, Meghna Gulzar has explored diverse subjects. She scores high when it comes to the emotional quotient. Her movie ‘Filhaal’ revolved around surrogacy and was a bold theme for that period. She directed the critically acclaimed Talvar, written by Vishal Bharadwaj, based on the 2008 Noida double murder case of Arushi Talwar and Hemraj that remains unsolved to this day.
· Gauri Shinde
Gauri Shinde has reinvented the Hindi cinema with her unique style. Gauri made her debut in 2012 (English Vinglish). It was a brilliant portrayal of a woman who overcame her insecurities on her own. Her last movie was Dear Zindagi (2016) which has also tasted success. She is taking the Hindi cinema by storm.
· Alankrita Shrivastava
After working as an assistant director with Prakash Jha, Alankrita made her directorial debut with Turning 30. Her second film Lipstick Under My Burkha was released after a lot of controversies. When the film released it received more than 10 global film awards including a Golden Globes nomination.
· Gurinder Chaddha
She is one of the most critically and commercially successful woman filmmakers who makes films on Indian families against a British backdrop. She has a comic approach in her movies such as Bend it like Beckham and Bride and Prejudice but with social issues at its core.
· Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari
Ashwiny has donned the director’s hat for films like Nil Battey Sannata, Bareilly Ki Barfi and most recently, Panga. She is the wife of film director Nitish Tiwari (Dangal). Her films revolve around small town narratives and try to put reality unfiltered onscreen.
· Reema Kagti
Reema has worked as an assistant director for Lagaan and Dil Chahta Hai. She made her debut as a director with the multi-starrer Honeymoon Travels Pvt. Ltd. She further received recognition for her film Talaash featuring Aamir Khan which was also a hit. Her last flick was the Akshay Kumar starrer Gold.
· Shonali Bose
National Film Award winner Shonali Bose has done few films which include Margarita with a Straw that executed same sex – relationships on the big screen. Her latest film is called The Sky Is Pink. Shonali Bose is a National Award Winner. Shonali’s films have a history of going places including international film festivals like TIFF and Berlin. Her films MWAS and Amu were played in over 150 film festivals and won over 40 prestigious international awards. But what she is most proud of is being a mother, and that emotional connection reflects in her narratives too.
· Tanuja Chandra
Tanuja Chandra has directed woman-oriented films where the heroines are the main protagonists of her films, notably Dushman (1998) and Sangharsh (1999). She started her career in 1995 and made her directorial debut with the TV series Zameen Aasmaan. She wrote the screenplay for Yash Chopra’s Dil To Pagal Hai (1997). She collaborated with Mahesh Bhatt and wrote the screenplay for Zakhm (1998). She made her cinematic directorial debut with the movie Dushman (1998). Her next film, Sangharsh (1999) was produced by Mahesh Bhatt and starred Akshay Kumar and Preity Zinta in lead roles. Since then, Chandra has directed several films including Sur – The Melody of Life (2002) and Film Star (2005), which won favorable reviews from critics and received praise for her work as a director and writer. Her film was Hope and a Little Sugar (2008), which was shot entirely in English in the US. Tanuja’s latest released film was Qarib Qarib Single starring Irrfan Khan and Parvathy.
· Farah Khan
She learned to dance basically on her own, and set up a dance group. She began her career as a choreographer in the movie Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar. This was followed by many more songs. Farah Khan has won the Filmfare Best Choreography Award six times. She then went on to direct her first film Main Hoon Na Starring Shah Rukh Khan. She became the second female director to be nominated for Filmfare Best Director Award. As a director, her second movie Om Shanti Om starring Shah Rukh Khan and Deepika Padukone became the highest-grossing Hindi film of all time at its time of release. She made her film acting debut in a leading role in Shirin Farhad Ki Toh Nikal Padi, directed by Bela Bhansali Sehgal.