Female Directors in Indian Cinema
Gender and Movies

Female directors who redefined Indian Cinema!

The film industry is one of the several industries where domination by men has been seen as a standard working protocol. Directing a film requires good leadership capabilities and management skills. Here are some women who showed that direction is not necessarily a man’s job. With refreshing narrative and storytelling, these women have done a significant job in redefining Indian cinema.

1. Gauri Shinde

Gauri Shinde Dear Zindagi

Though Gauri has made just two commercial movies so far, those movies are still remembered for breaking social stigmas with subtlety. Her first film English Vinglish is about a housewife who does not have a command of the English language. This leads to several issues and she does not receive any respect from her family. The film focuses on how she rises above the odds to learn the languages and surprises everybody with her newly learned skill. The film also marked the return of legendary actress Sridevi. Her second and last Bollywood film Dear Zindagi successfully attempts in breaking the social stigmas surrounding mental health. It was a film I truly connected with. Many including me are waiting eagerly for her next film.

2. Mira Nair

Mira Nair The Namesake

Mira Nair is one of the few filmmakers who brought us close to the coveted Academy Awards with her film Salaam Bombay!. Her movies mostly reflect on the economic, cultural, and social spheres of Indian society. Mira Nair’s movie Some of her popular works include The Namesake and Monsoon Wedding. Her movies have a very real-life charisma to them, making them very intense and real.

3. Shonali Bose

Shonali Bose director

Shonali had no plans to foray into filmmaking initially. She realized that films can act as an excellent medium in communicating social ideologies and political stands. Her popular movies include Margherita with a Straw and The Sky is Pink. Both these movies had received high critical acclaim.

4. Anjali Menon

Anjali Menon

Anjali Menon’s contributions to Malayalam cinema have created a new wave and rift in the industries. All her movies have been widely celebrated. They are drenched in human emotions and we can relate with her characters instantly. Though Malayalam, her movies have gained popularity among audiences outside Kerala as well. Her movie Bangalore Days is a cult classic.

5. Zoya Akhtar

Zoya Akhtar

Zoya Akhtar is as good as her director brother Farhan Akhtar. Her film Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara is a movie that always finds me whenever I am going through a tough time. Her characters are so relatable that we find a bit of ourselves in them. They are usually the misfits trying to break free from societal impositions.

6. Aparna Sen

Aparna Sen

Of the several roles she has donned in movies, the role of the director is one of her finest. With a rich lineage in cinema, Aparna Sen has directed several films that went on to receive immense critical acclaim. Mr. and Mrs. Iyyer and 15 Park Avenue, which both star her daughter Konkona Sen Sharma, are regarded as mighty classics of all time.

7. Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari

Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari

Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari always makes it a point to represent the female characters in her movies with strength and poise. They are not weak, submissive, or vulnerable women. They have a voice of their own and break the stereotypical representation in every way.

8. Rima Das

Rima Das plays a significant role in the popularizing Assamese movie industry, which is hardly given much attention. Her movie Village Rockstars was selected as India’s official entry for the 91st Academy Awards.

9. Sudha Kongara

Sudha Kongara is one of the few female directors from the Tamil industry who has done films of both mass commercial appeal as well as intense drama tone. Her segment from the anthology Paavai Kathaigal was a dark take on the lives of individuals with different sexual orientations. Her film Soorarai Pottru had actor Suriya back with his mass action appeal. Sudha is on her way to remake the same in Hindi with Akshay Kumar as the lead.

Image Courtesy: Instagram

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