With brilliant work and versatility, women directors have in recent years stormed the once ‘males only’ bastion in Bollywood. So effectively have they ended the male domination, that many Indian women directors are now not just recognised but highly appreciated in the international film world as well. In the process, these remarkable women directors has given us some of the most entertaining and sublime movies of all times. They have proved themselves in the Indian film industry with their fresh style of direction, the way they handle storytelling and the use of some unique techniques to highlight the stories they handle. Viewers –always discerning — have responded enthusiastically to the films directed by these women directors. As a viewer remarked, “The women fraternity which was majorly confined to acting in films till the last few decades have now broken the glass ceiling and taken the standards of film direction in the once male dominated industry to new heights”. In fact, they have proved that if a woman has the talent, integrity, drive and ambition to reach her goals, then there is no stopping her from reaching her destination. Obviously, times and trends have changed and women directors have started to run at not just the same pace as that of the male directors in the industry, but even faster. Today, there is quite an impressive list of women directors who have made their mark to the Indian film industry and internationally as talented directors with a difference and produced some of the most fascinating movies of all times.
When it comes to women directors in Bollywood, where to begin becomes a difficult choice, but let’s start with Farah Khan. She began her career as a choreographer in Bollywood and produced some of the biggest dance numbers which includes songs like ‘Chhaiya Chhaiya,’ ‘Dhol Bajne Laga,’ ‘ Woh Ladki Hai Kahan’ etc. But she always had a dream of directing films and she made it a reality when she directed ‘Main Hoon Naa’ which starred Shah Rukh Khan in the lead role. This was the just the start to her amazing journey as a director, and now she has directed some of the best films that have hit the chart busters. Zoya Akhtar who too has made a name for herself in the industry. Coming from a background which was filled with constant interaction with the stars of Bollywood, it was always a dream for her too to direct in films. She made a fine start to her career with the film ‘Luck By Chance’ which received a good response from the crowds. This film was appreciated by the film industry as well and expectations are high that this director is going to direct some of the most brilliant films in times to come. Pooja Bhatt is another director who displayed her versatility effectively. She started her career as an actress and gained a lot of popularity. But she decided to change track and decided to direct films instead of acting. And since the time that she has taken up a directorial role, she has been instrumental in making some of the most critically acclaimed movies with her new style of directing films.
Reema Kagti’s name also evokes considerable interest. Although Reema Kagti had to follow the conventional path, she managed to make it big when she was handed the opportunity. She began her career with ‘Dil Chahta Hai’ and ‘Lakshya’ where she assisted Farhan Akhtar, but her efforts paid off when Excel Entertainment decided to give her a chance to direct the film ‘Honeymoon Travels Pvt. Ltd.’ From then on this director has been highly sought after and it can be hoped that she would come up with some even more brilliant stuff as a director. Nandita Das is one name which needs no introduction. She has created a separate spot in the industry for herself by her unique style of directing films. Nandita Das also started her career as an actress but went on to direct films after some time and received a lot of praise for her work. Gurinder Chadha is another name which has gained prominence in the industry, especially in international film circles. In fact, many rate her achievements very highly because she has excelled in directing documentaries. Kiran Rao has recently given notice of bigger things ahead.
Right now, if one were to evaluate the Indian cinema scene, it can safely be said that women directors are poised to add new creativity, new credibility, and new levels to film direction. Now that they have carved out and so successfully occupied a special niche for themselves, they is no way they will be prepared to sit on their laurels. Obviously, Indian cinema has lots to look forward to thanks in part – and quite a big part at that – to its women directors.