The Women Who Call The Shots
Behind every successful male director is a woman. Sanjay Leela Bhansali attributes his success to his mother, Karan Johar does the same too. Ashutosh Gowariker believes he wouldn't have made it without his wife neither does Arbaaz Khan who thinks its Malaika Arora's support and encouragement that has made him believe in himself. And behind every successful woman director? The drive and passion to turn dreams into reality. That's exactly what the women behind the camera have done. Make movies on subjects they strongly believe in so convincingly that it gets difficult for the audience to say, "Its just a movie". No, not all women directors have directed movies that test the intellect of the audience. That would have been boring, wouldn't it? So, here are some of the women directors who have carved a niche for themselves in the industry.
Reema Kagti - After having worked as an assistant director in "Dil Chahta Hai", "Lakshya", "Lagaan", "Armaan", her directorial debut was the very fun filled "Honeymoon Travels Pvt Ltd". A movie that traveled through the intricacies of the relationships of 6 couples. With a pretty good review at the box office, Reema Kagti is now working on her untitled project with Aamir Khan, Rani Mukherjee and Kareena Kapoor that is slated for Jan 2012 release. Watch out for this one!
Zoya Akhtar - Reema Kagti's close friend and colleague, Zoya Akhtar is next on our list. After having been in the industry for a while and going through the struggle herself, it was but natural that her directorial debut would be on the life of a struggling actor in the aptly title, "Luck By Chance", that had her brother Farhan Akhtar in the lead role. It was a movie well accepted and along with it came a certain level of expectation from this film maker. She accepted those expectations as a challenge and came up with another brilliant movie in the form of "Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara" that release earlier this year. Though it initially drew comparisons to "Dil Chahta Hai", anybody who has watched would beg to differ because this movie was far from being inspired by DCH. Can't wait for her next once which hopefully will be soon.
Kiran Rao - This star wife shunned the critics and proved with her debut movie, "Dhobi Ghaat" that released in Jan this year, that she is much more than just a star wife. A movie that tested the sensibilities of the audience, it was a journey of four individuals whose paths crossed at different junctions in their lives. A beautifully woven movie that makes you look at the next person and think, "What could be their story"? Kiran Rao is definitely here to stay!
Anusha Rizvi - This journalist turned director made every journalist and budding journalist cringe and say, "How true" with her first movie, "Peepli Live". Being a journalist herself, she obviously knew and accepted the hard truth of the corporate colonialism and rural poverty that was the undertone of this movie which was portrayed extremely convincingly on celluloid. Though there had been differences of opinion between her and Aamir Khan who was the producer of the movie, we sure do hope Rizvi continues to make more movies.
Gauri Shinde Balki - The wife of the very talented ad man turned director R.Balki, is making her directorial debut with "English Vinglish" that will see the comeback of the very gorgeous and versatile Sridevi. The story is supposedly inspired by the Pankaj Kapur starer Tv show, "Zabaan Sambhalke". The movie is slated to release later this year and we just need to wait and watch whether Gauri Shinde Balki will be able to come out of her husband's shadow and make a mark for herself.
The advent of female film makers in the hindi film industry is not something that is a recent development. There has been a few before who have been the reason for some of the best masala entertainers as well as extremely sensible cinema.
Farah Khan : The choreographer turned director gave the term "masala entertainer" a whole new meaning with her directorial debut, "Main Hoon Na". The movie turned out the be one of the biggest hits of the year. And then came the portrayal of her love for the industry in "Om Shanti Om" - both these movies saw her then best friend Shah Rukh Khan in the lead roles. Her last release, "Tees Maar Khan", failed to connect at the box office. Except for the super hit "item" number of 'Sheila Ki Jawani', there wasn't much to remember about the movie. Her genre of cinema is the "leave you brains behind" kind but I guess after all the serious real movies, these sort of movies are quite necessary to maintain the balance, isn't it?
Deepa Mehta : Famous for her 'Elements' trilogy - Fire, Earth and Water, this Indian born Canadian director is all about sensible meaningful cinema. There is also a certain amount of class and perfection that comes through in her movies. She is definitely the kind of film maker who does immense research on her subjects and directs it with a lot of conviction while bringing out the best in her actors.
Mira Nair - A master class director, this New York based Indian film maker is known for her aesthetically made movies such as "Salaam Bombay", "Monsoon Wedding" and "The Namesake".
There is a certain sense of sensitivity that comes across in the movies made by women directors. With all due respect to the wonderful male directors, these women are where they are today because they have associated themselves to the kind of cinema they believe in and they are definitely here to stay. We want them to stay, don't we?