India has a rich history of filmmaking, with many talented directors and producers contributing to the country’s vibrant film industry. However, female directors have historically been underrepresented despite the many talented women in the industry. Thankfully, there has been a notable increase in the number of women directing films in India in recent years.
Directed by Neeraj Ghaywan, Masaan is a powerful drama about the intersecting lives of four characters in Varanasi. The film won two awards at the Cannes Film Festival and was praised for its sensitive portrayal of complex human emotions.
Directed by Konkona Sen Sharma, this film is set in the 1970s and revolves around a young man’s trip to a family holiday home in McCluskieganj, Jharkhand. The film explores themes of masculinity, privilege, and family dynamics and features a stellar cast, including Kalki Koechlin and Vikrant Massey.
Directed by Alankrita Shrivastava, this film was initially banned in India for its depiction of female sexuality. The film follows the lives of four women from different walks of life in Bhopal and explores their struggles with societal norms and expectations.
Directed by Leena Yadav, Parched is a story of three women in a rural Indian village who rebel against the patriarchy and social norms that dictate their lives. The film was praised for its stunning cinematography and sensitive portrayal of complex issues.
Directed by Vikas Bahl and co-directed by Queen’s lead actress Kangana Ranaut, this film is a coming-of-age story about a young woman who decides to go on her honeymoon alone after her fiancé cancels their wedding. The film was a commercial and critical success and won several awards.
Directed by Mira Nair, Salaam Bombay! is a gritty portrayal of life on the streets of Mumbai. The film follows the story of a young boy who runs away from home and works in a brothel. The film won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Hindi and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.
Directed by Kiran Rao, Dhobi Ghat is a story of four characters whose lives intersect in the bustling city of Mumbai. The film explores loneliness, displacement, and the search for connection in a rapidly changing city.
Directed by Gauri Shinde, English Vinglish is a heartwarming story of a middle-aged woman who decides to learn English to gain her family’s respect. The film was a commercial and critical success and marked the return of actress Sridevi to the big screen after a long hiatus.
Directed by Shonali Bose, Margarita With a Straw is a coming-of-age drama about a young woman with cerebral palsy who navigates love, relationships, and her own identity. The film was praised for its realistic portrayal of disability and sexuality and won several awards.
Directed by Mira Nair, The Namesake is an adaptation of the novel by Jhumpa Lahiri. The film follows the story of a young Indian-American man who struggles to reconcile his Indian heritage with his life in America. The film was a critical and commercial success and was praised for its nuanced portrayal of cultural identity.
The Indian film industry has been slow to embrace female directors, but there is no doubt that the tide is turning. These eight films are just a small selection of the many talented women making waves in the industry and telling stories that are diverse, nuanced, and thought-provoking. We can only hope that this trend continues and that we see even more women behind the camera in the future.