The Wonder Women of Bollywood
Bollywood is an industry that is clearly dominated by men; where men form a major part of the crew and are the ones getting paid way more. But there are a few women who have managed to break the stereotypes and created a niche of their own. These women not only have in them the incredible art of story-telling but they also know how to present the audience with some serious money-spinners. On International Women’s Day, Pandolin takes a moment to applaud the wonder women of Bollywood. We acknowledge the work of these female filmmakers in the industry who have inspired many to look beyond the patriarchal paradigms that society very conveniently lays down for them.
Here are the directors who have made their mark in Bollywood with some great films:
Aparna Sen: She has acted in Satyajit Ray’s films and has her pocket full with National Awards. Aparna Sen is an Indian Cinema legend who has left no stone unturned in becoming one of the most respected and flawless directors in the history of Indian Cinema. With like 36 Chowringhee Lane, Mr and Mrs Iyer and The Japanese Wife, she not only is the queen of parallel cinema but also has the whole of Bollywood in awe of her.
Zoya Akhtar: Born to one of the most successful writers and lyricists in the country (Javed Akhtar), Zoya Akhtar did not need her father to become what she is today. With films like Luck by Chance and Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara that were both critically acclaimed and commercially successful, Zoya Akhtar has easily got herself a place amongst the most talented directors in the country.
Farah Khan: She has delivered one of the biggest hits Bollywood has ever seen (Om Shaanti Om). Beginning her career as a choreographer and having given some iconic dance moves to the country, Farah Khan knows what it takes to make a blockbuster. With action-comedies like Main Hoon Na, Om Shaanti Om and Happy New Year which have been extremely successful and loved by the audiences, she has redefined the ‘masala’ genre for the industry.
Kiran Rao: If there was someone who could draw audiences to the theatres for a documentary-like cinematic experience, it was Kiran Rao. She started out as an assistant director and worked with directors like Ashutosh Gowariker and Mira Nair. Kiran Rao made her directorial debut with an immensely appreciated film Dhobhi Ghaat. She has also produced several films including Anand Gandhi’s acclaimed Ship of Theseus.
Reema Kagti: She made her debut with Honeymoon Travels Pvt Ltd, an eccentric character-driven light hearted film which got great appreciation from critics everywhere. Reema Kagti’s quality of giving depths to her character and making each of them an immensely important part of the story is what makes her great at her job. Her next film, Talaash did the same. An out of the box style of filmmaking and intriguing characters have put Kagti in the race for one of the most iconic directors in the country.
Gauri Shinde: Gauri made a critically acclaimed debut with English Vinglish. Apart from giving one of the most successful films of that year, she also proved that a hero is not the biggest necessity to make the film a hit. All a film requires is a good story, performances and direction. Even though she is just one film old, she definitely has raised the bar for others to match up to her talent as a director.
Anusha Rizvi: There would hardly be any cinema lovers who would not remember the much-pitied Natha in Peepli Live, one of the most appreciated satirical films in a very long time. Anusha Rizvi created a film that was almost perfect. From brilliant cinematography to music, her film did not leave any scope for criticism.
Each year Bollywood comes out with hundreds of films yet when we sit to write an article about female filmmakers, their number can be counted on our fingertips. These women and their work is an example of the spirit of International Women’s Day. All you need to make a film is the desire to make a film, and that is what they represent. We have come a long way from having no female directors to some of the best directors in the country being women. There is only growth from here on and we would like to use this occasion to give them credit for the same.
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