It is often said that a film is made on the editing table and a fine editor has the potential to change its fortune completely. The process of editing is a distinct creative technique, which ensures the smoothness of storytelling and contours a film. In the words of Hrishikesh Mukherjee, “The director prepares the menu, brings the ingredients, and knows what he wants the final dishes to look and taste like, the editor is the cook”. And we absolutely abide by the point of this genius filmmaker who himself was a great editor and won best editing awards for films like Anand and Madhumati.

Earlier referred to as an invisible art, editing as an art form is now getting widely recognized by Indian audiences. Cine-goers are now gradually realizing that there is more to filmmaking than just the actors and the director. Also, once considered a male territory, the field of film editing has lately been witnessing some wonderful female editors. With an upsurge in the quality content and versatile storytelling, the demand for diligent film editors have vastly increased. Lets have a look at the most successful and sensible editors of the modern Indian cinema who have managed to carve a niche for themselves in the industry:

Namrata Rao: Initially confused in her career choices, this Delhi-born girl wanted to be an actor in her college days. She graduated in IT, worked as a graphic designer, had a job with NDTV but left it all to go to a film school. And today, she is one among the most prominent film editors working in Bollywood. Having films like Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye, Love Sex Aur Dhokha, Ishqiya, Band Baaja Baaraat, Kahaani, Jab Tak Hai Jaan and the most recent Shuddh Desi Romance to her credits, Namrata Rao has already bagged two Filmfare and one National award at such a young age.

Apart from the commercial films, she has worked on few documentary projects such as Three Blind Men and Katiyabaaz. According to her, each film is a different experience and it is important to understand the director’s vision and ambition. She says, “I could not have edited Band Baaja Baaraat the way I edited Love Sex Aur Dhokha.” Currently, she is working on a film titled Titli produced by Dibakar Banerjee and soon she aspires to venture into the field of direction too.

Aarti Bajaj: Starting her career with Anurag Kashyap’s films, Aarti Bajaj has come a long way since her first short film called Last train to Mahakali , which was telecasted in 1999. After that, she worked on almost all of Anurag’s projects like Paanch, Black Friday, Aamir, No Smoking, Dev.D, Gulaal and yet to be released Ugly. She has collaborated with filmmakers like Reema Kagti and Imtiaz Ali on their critically acclaimed films such as Honeymoon Travels Pvt. Ltd. and Rockstar respectively.

In one of her interviews, Aarti Bajaj profusely confessed that she couldn’t connect with Rockstar initially while editing and told Imtiaz Ali about it. And that is when, the director sat her down and explained the character of Jordan while they watched the rushes of the film together. She says, “It was important because as an editor, I needed to undertake that journey before expecting my audience to connect with it. To be good at what I do, I need to get under the skin of the characters.” Undoubtedly, with this approach and sincerity, she is being counted as the leading editor of Indian contemporary cinema.

Deepa Bhatia: While growing up , she was only exposed to the mainstream Hindi cinema but as she joined Sophia College in Mumbai, her whole perspective of films changed. Under the mentorship of director Govind Nihalani and her husband Amol Gupte, she gained an insight into the film world and excelled in the art of editing. Hazaar Chaurasi Ki Maa was her first project as an editor and since then she has marked her name in around fifteen feature-films namely Rock On, My Name Is Khan, We Are Family, Student Of The Year and Kai Po Che etc. She also went on to receive the best editing Star Screen award for the film Rock On.

Apart from being an editor, she is an award-winning director of a critically acclaimed documentary named Nero’s Guests based on the farmer suicides. Besides, she assisted her husband on projects like Taare Zameen Par and Stanley Ka Dabba. She is one of those few film fraternities who can strike a balance between commercial Bollywood and meaningful artistic cinema. Therefore, in spite of being associated with the candyfloss films of Karan Johar, Deepa Bhatia’s most commendable work remains a film called Maine Gandhi Ko Nahin Mara. Recounting her achievements and talent, one can certainly tag her as a reigning editor of new wave Indian cinema.

Sreekar Prasad: Touted as the maestro of film editing, this Chennai based editor has already bagged seven National awards and one special Jury award for various landmark films. Throughout his career spanning over two decades, he has worked on innumerable Hindi, Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu and English films such as Raakh, Rag Birag, Vaanaprastham, Firaaq, Yodha, Dil Chahta Hai and Kaminey etc. He practiced the art of editing while working with his father on Telugu films. He graduated in Literature and perhaps that helped him a lot to get hold of the stories, capture the drama and essence of the protagonist journey in movies.

According to him, “Editing is a lot of hard work, and when awards come later, it comes as a great booster shot, and propels you to become better.” Despite being a recipient of India’s most prestigious awards, this ace editing professional manages to keep himself grounded. And that is the reason, why his art has not lost its sheen even in modern context. Nowadays, he is working on Abhishek Chaubey’s Dedh Ishqiya and few other South Indian projects are also in pipeline. Sreekar Prasad is one such editor who gets involved in a film right from the script discussions and delivers his best till the film finishes.

Chandan Arora: Popularly known for his association with Ram Gopal Varma and films like Company, Jungle, Mast, Pyaar Tune Kya Kiya and many more, this versatile editor-director started his career as an assistant director in 1990. In 2003, he was honored with the best editing Filmfare Award for his film Company.  Later on, he diverged into the field of direction with his debut film Main Madhuri Dixit Banna Chahti Hoon produced by none other than RGV.

Following this, he directed two other films namely, Main, Meri Patni… Aur Woh and Striker but neither of them performed well at the box-office. Recently, he has made a comeback in the editor avatar with Hrithik Roshan starrer Krrish 3 and a fabulous Marathi film titled Fandry. And we must say that both these films have efficaciously relaunched him into the category of distinguished contemporary film editors.

Akiv Ali: Last but not the least, we have this extremely dynamic and multitalented editor on our list. With films like Murder, Gangster, Life In A Metro, Kites, The Dirty Picture, Agneepath, Barfi and Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani in his account, we couldn’t help but look at the glorious record of Akiv Ali. Moreover, he has worked as an actor in a film called Rog in 2005. But his true calling was film editing in which he has been excelling for over a decade now.

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